Getting a puppy can’t be a snap decision. It’s a serious step because you’re not just getting a temporary distraction—you’re getting a lifelong friend. And it’s your responsibility to take care of it when it gets old and ill, no matter how hard and heartbreaking it might be.
Best-selling author Brittany Tarkington from East Texas shared a heart-wrenchingly bittersweet Facebook post about her dog of 12 years, Winnie. She revealed how she had to take care of Winnie as she got older, until she sadly passed away. Brittany wanted people to imagine themselves years and years from now taking care of their senior dogs when they need our help and support the most. If we can’t make that promise, we shouldn’t be getting the pet in the first place.
Brittany told Bored Panda that the main thing for people who are currently taking care of their senior dogs is to never give up. “I know it’s hard, but they give us so much in their short lives, the most selfless thing we can do in our lives is making sure they feel loved and comfortable at the end.” Scroll down for our interview with Brittany and to read her story in her own words.
Image credits: Brittany Tarkington
“Your face turned white, your energy dimmed, but you were wise in a way most wouldn’t understand”
Brittany shared how she was adamant about getting her own dog when she was in high school and how she met her friend Winnie. At first, Brittany’s heart was set on getting a Chihuahua. Until she found an ad in her local paper for a 6-month-old Jack Russell mix who didn’t get along with the new dog.
“I was adamant; we were going to see her. She ran straight to the car, and after a small talk, she was in my lap headed home with my mom and me. ‘Roxie or Winnie?’ I asked my mom. She replied, ‘She doesn’t look like a Roxie.’ Winnie it was. That was the first time Winnie gave us her look. I’ve seen it a million times, and it’s one I’ll wish I could see forever. Her eyes were the most expressive things on this planet. I could read every thought with that single look.”
Winnie was by Brittany’s side for 12 and a half years. A lot happened during that time: Brittany graduated from high school, rebelled, graduated college, had a baby, moved, got marries, and brought home other animals. But through everything, her life still revolved around Winnie.
“As long as you had the attention you demanded, you were always on board whether it be sleeping all day or adventures. And I thank you for that. I never knew how much I needed someone to sleep by my bed on nights I was alone, judge me when I was dancing around the kitchen listening to pop music. Or simply have someone listen to me while I vented.”
According to Brittany, the beginning of Winnie’s life was full of energy and fun, however, her senior years were here favorite. “Your face turned white, your energy dimmed, but you were wise in a way most wouldn’t understand. It wasn’t always easy, but I would do it a million times over just to be with you. I started to wonder during this time, why people abandoned senior animals during their most precious and vulnerable times. I won’t ever be able to answer that. I just hope they stop and think.”
Winnie was Brittany’s best friend in the world
Winnie’s owner told Bored Panda that she was very thankful for the last year of her dog’s life. They spent most of that time together. “She traveled with me, went on walks with me, and went on almost every store trip I made. She was my best friend and I hope she felt the love I gave her during her last year.”
Unfortunately, not everyone is as kind and dedicated to their pets as Brittany. According to the author, some people give up on their dogs once they start getting older.
“There are too many senior dogs in shelters. Rather, it’s because of costs or that they can’t stand to see their pets age, too many people give up on their senior dogs.”
So before you impulsively go buy or rescue that cute canine you’ve fallen in love with at first sight, you need to be prepared in advance for all of the good and bad things that will come over the dog’s lifetime. A lot of people agreed with Brittany’s message: her post got more than 52k likes, was shared over 81k times, and started a real discussion with 7.3k comments.
Brittany lives with her husband and son in Texas. She is the author of The Hazed Series, The Forever Series, The Lies We Tell, and The Autumn Leaf. You can find her books on Amazon right here.