Old Dog Math


Many people don’t understand the life long commitment of  having a canine companion. That frustrates me sometimes. A while back, I had the opportunity to demonstrate my finesse and tact on this very topic. (Is there a font for sarcasm? There should be.)

At a party, I met a delightful couple in their mid-70’s and we were enjoying conversation within a friendly group. The couple began talking about the puppy they would soon be getting.

Please don't think I am singling out older folks. I am not in my seventies yet, but I can see the neighborhood from here. I chose an older dog, because it makes sense for my life. If you're 85 and want to deal with a puppy (Are you crazy?) I mean, go ahead. But have a plan for the dog's future.

Back to my story: The couple extolled the virtues of the breed. When I asked how long the dog would be expected to live, they were quite pleased to tell me fifteen years was the norm, perhaps even longer. I waited a few seconds and then since they couldn’t seem to do the math -  I did it for them.

“So when you are ninety,” I said, “will you be able to care for an elderly dog?”  The conversation died out as others suddenly needed to refill their drinks or get a snack. No one questioned my arithmetic, by the way.



Despite having exchanged contact information with this couple earlier, I never heard from them. Huh. Go figure. Some people just don’t like math, I guess.


To be clear, the math applies at both ends of the age spectrum.

Grade School Math

10 year old human loves dog. New puppy loves human.

11 year old human plays with dog. 1 year old dog plays with human.

12 year human walks dog. 2 year old dog walks with human.

16 year old human talks to dog. 6 year old dog listens to human.

18 year old human goes to college. 8 year old dog stays behind.

22 year old human gets job across the country. 12 year old dog sleeps in front of her parent's fireplace, a lot.

23 year old human is grateful to her parents and visits frequently.

Of course it doesn’t always work out this way. It didn’t for Huff.

College Math

18 year old human goes to college, misses childhood pet.

19 year old human convinces parents to rent him an apartment so he can move out of the dorms. 19 year old human adopts puppy.

20 year old human and 1 year old dog are best buddies. They run together, play Frisbee in the park. They hang out together, sharing pizza and companionship.

22 year old human graduates. 3 year old dog is now an inconvenience and ends up in the local shelter.

Of course it doesn’t always work out this way.  But it astounds me how often it does.

Math, people.

Old Dogs Matter

A dog is a great companion, but it is not disposable when its care is no longer convenient. If you can’t care for your older dog, who will? Have that figured out, before you get the dog.

When you commit to a dog, you  need to commit for the dog's entire life.

Do the math. Just saying.