Please Be Kind To Us — We Know We're Old [Art & Rant]


Hey friends! It’s a non-food post again, but I really wanted to share something I made. You all know that MP’s been gimping along for a couple of years now—but we are addressing it ever so vigorously and actively with the help of the most amazing vets. As if managing a slowly (although it sometimes feels devastatingly quickly) progressing arthritis isn’t challenging enough, ever since MP started to show gray, and especially after her gimpies, people—just strangers out and about—haven’t stopped saying and asking unbelievable things to us, like:

“What’s wrong with your dog?” (Nothing. What’s wrong with you?)
“Do you know that he’s limping?” (Yeah, she, thanks.)
“Oh, they don’t live much after that.” (…I’ll make sure she outlives you.)
“Have you thought of…[putting her down]” (…NO WORDS…)
“Looks like a lab. Labs have hip problems.” (OK, obese dude washing down a donut with a Mountain Dew; from your appearance, one may gather that you must have diabetes and ankle problems.)
“Hate to see ’em suffer!” [Implying that *I* am making her suffer.] (Yeah, hate to see you exist.)
“Must be old! Look how gray!” (You must be old! Look how bald!)
“She has cataracts!” (No, nuclear sclerosis; you have halitosis.)

…there’s more, and there’s worse. People have stopped their cars, rolled down windows, made us stand in the scorching sun, just to say dumb things. Given some of their reactions, you’d think they have never seen an older dog with a strange gait. Every once in a while, someone who totally gets it would offer commiserating words, and we’d chat for a bit. But most of the time, it’s a flurry of insensitive comments from strangers. *Strangers*!! I have a hard time shooting the poop with strangers on the fly; how do these people rapid-fire hurtful comments and insults on the go?!

I kind of get it, because some people think dogs are “just dogs”; they don’t apply the same manners that they would when talking about a human. If it’s too hard to do the “Don’t say it if it’s not nice” thing, then I think a good guide to keep in mind is: “Would I say this about someone or their kid/mom/grandma?” If the answer is “No,” then don’t say it about pets, either. It really shouldn’t be so hard.

Unfortunately, people-coming-up-to-us-to-say-dumb-stuff has been SUCH a thing that I had to make this poster; what a difficult one to draw. I tried to represent a few “conditions,” but it’s mostly about old dogs.

Please share this with your friends, and please say something nice when you see an old-timer. I will forever remember each sweet comment from a stranger about MP, and I mean it. A simple “She’s GORGEOUS!” during a hike made my day—for weeks—and the kindness helps me get over the craziest things people have said to us. So, thanks for the cheer, and I know that your senior dog is AWESOME! 🙂

Also, here’s a great article I found in BARK magazine a while back. The author says it much better than I can.

Thanks for listening! Please share our little reminder to “Be Kind” with all your dog friends! 🙂
If you’d like a printable PDF for personal use, please check out my art site. The link is at the bottom.