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It’s only our 2nd Christmas, but it’s funny how quickly a family pet can be adopted into your normal routine of life. Sometimes I feel like Bailey has been with me forever. After finding her through www.petfinder.com and then adopting her in June, 2008, it hardly seems like this can only be our second big holiday together! If it were not for me still trying to figure out her health issues (excessive panting, excessive hunger, allergies, etc) I feel like I have known her a long time.

It’s Christmas day. Well, now it’s almost 10-pm and I have spent the better part of the evening reading about  natural dogs foods so I can test out something new. I keep thinking that this ultra allergen prescription food I have her on has something to do with her seeming to be starving all the time and maybe it’s not so ultra-allergenic at all. Much like people doctors, nutrition is not taught in Veternarian Medical school so it is up to me and many others to do the research for our furry kids. I do not want to see her suffering from itchy skin all the time. I do not know why they don’t teach medical students of all kids about nutrition – makes perfect sense that they should! We are what we eat, after all! What happened to the body is a temple? That SHOULD be taught!

Bailey continues to be such a joy, but also such a challenge with her ‘”special needs.” I know my efforts are appreciated though. Since I never had kids, the animal companions that have graced my life have taken that space in my life and I have welcomed it generously. You have to be their guide and all they ask is for love in return – that seems like a great deal to me.

I was recently reading a www.petfinder.com story about a lady who adopted a Sheltie mix which had only two years. When I read that I had thought about when I agreed to bring Bailey into our life. She was a 7 yr-old dog who had been a shelter-drop-off and in Foster care there for an entire year. No One wants an older dog. Everyone wants a puppy. You come into the dogs life when they have the most challenges and then those become yours as well. I knew that going in and that was part of the reason I wanted an older dog. They need the second chance. Today I read an article in my local paper about someone’s mantra – it was something like, recognize a need and meet a need. I liked that and that too, reminded me of Bailey. She needed me and I guess I needed her too. She teaches me things every day. You need patience to deal with an older dog who is stubborn and set in her ways. But, with a lot of love, anything is possible and while you never know how long you might have together, you have each day and the opportunity to make the best of each of them and hopefully you can celebrate many more Christmases toegther.