A celebration of old dogs, from the people who love them most | In Dog Years

(somber music) Woman: This is Mango
and he’s 20 and a 1/2 and he’s been with me
since he was six weeks old. I guess around 17 I noticed
him starting to slow down. He was starting to get dementia, he was starting to not really
know where things were, what was going on. If he continues to decline rapidly in the next few days, Um, I think we’ll have to, we’ll
have to maybe help him along. (solemn music) Woman: Guinness is the best. How do you even
characterize him? I wouldn’t even
necessarily say dog, cause that seems like, too
constricting a box for him. Like, he’s just an amazing soul who happens to be in a dog body. Woman: Adopting a dog or
owning a dog is kind of morbid, in the sense of when
you have a baby, the whole notion that
you hope is that, like, your kid will bury you one day or your kid will
plan your funeral, not the other way around. Man: What kinda dog
can I take anywhere? (laughs) That was, it was Fidel. Woman: This is Ollie. (laughs) Ollie is my handsome
15-year-old whippet. What I’ve been told
about his eye is that one of his first owners
had an abusive boyfriend. There was some violence
going on in the house and at some point, it
was taken out on Ollie, for whatever reason. You would really never know that he’s been through something
like that, meeting him, because he’s just
so calm and gentle. Person: So I’m a naval officer. So I just wanted
to be in the navy, wanted to name him after
someone who was navy. Harry DeWolf was a bit
of a Canadian hero, not that we have too many
Canadian military heroes that people know about. But he was commanding
officer of Haida and he picked up survivors
from another one of our ships that was hit by torpedoes. Woman: No, like
“shoop” like that. Thanks, keep my feet warm. You’re good. This is Frida. She has a million
nicknames. (chuckles) Lately it’s Pickle,
I don’t know why. I struggle with
my mental health. I have depression and one of
the hallmarks of depression for me was just not
wanting to get out of bed and not wanting to get dressed, not wanting to take a shower. Just being really
super bummed out and really, really
lazy and really tired. And you can’t be
that with a dog. You have to get up and
get out and that helps. Getting up some days and taking her out was
all that I would do. And that’s fine, that’s
my goal for the day is to make sure the dog
is taken care of. Woman: Do you wanna sit? No, no, here, let’s do this. I was running event, you asked me to hang out after
one of the night trivias. And then the next
night, when we hung out, Princey had just gotten
out of his surgery, when he had his eyes removed. And the moment Seb kind of
walked into the apartment, Princey started
bleeding from his eyes, which was really scary. So yeah, I panicked. In the moment, I just said
sorry random guy from the bar, you need to leave. Um, and Seb was
determined, he’s like, you’re not going to the
emergency room alone, I’ll go with you. Woman: So he’s got these
very cool looking Doggles, which seems funny
for a blind dog, that he would have
any kind of glasses, but it does help
protect his eyes. So he doesn’t love them, but we try to tell him how
handsome he is all the time. I get the elevator to tell
him how handsome he is and strangers, who
try to Snapchat him. It’s fine, just
tell him he’s cute. (dog growls) Woman: (laughs) No. (dog barks) This is Daisy. (chuckles) Daisy is probably, like,
around 13 or 14-years-old now. We don’t really know. She was first in
the shelter here, she was adopted out and she
was brought back a couple of days later for biting the
Woman who had adopted her, which is how we sort of
circumstantially met. (dog barks)
Person: When I got Dingo, it was probably the lowest
point in my entire life. Like, I lived with my brothers
and one of them is evil and one of them is just, like,
schizophrenic and autistic and has a lot of
issues of his own. And, you know, my
paychecks were going fully to rent and feeding my brothers. My mother was hassling
me, literally, every day. And so, when I finally started to feel like I had some
feet under me, financially, and had a place where I
thought I was gonna be able to live for a while, where we weren’t hopefully
gonna get evicted immediately, I went and I got Dingo. Man: Jack, come,
come, come, come over. When my family arrived
in Canada in 1995, originally from Yugoslavia, and we bought for our son
there English cocker spaniel. And we left him behind. Then we arrived here, we learned that we’re
supposed to do opposite, to bring him here. I don’t know. I’m a little bit
emotional, sorry. Woman: It’s funny. Because I had that
experience in university and I was so sick for so long, I feel weirdly okay
with my own mortality. I’m not sure that I
believe in an afterlife and I think that’s okay, though. Um, but there’s something
special about certain deaths that I think you can’t adjust to and Guinness would
be one of them. Woman: And I think the
loss of control at the end is very difficult to
accept and is something, definitely, that I’m not
looking forward to with Ollie. Woman: Whenever Dingo is sick and I have to start
thinking about the fact that one day he will die,
then in those moments, my entire belief system
changes and it’s like, but one day I’ll see
him again, you know? Like, just I need
that comfort of, like, this isn’t a good-bye forever. Woman: I don’t wanna
come home to a dead dog and that’s really
scary to think about. Woman: But you always, like,
you start to do things, like, I’m checking or
I’ll wake up in the night, usually around three o’clock and I check to make sure
that she’s still breathing. Man: My mom died
when I was younger and I’ve come from
a really big family, so I’ve sort of been through
that, like, with people. So I think that I
would probably have to help (chuckles)
take the lead dealing with what we would do. I think I deal with my
own by planning for him. Like, there’s a folder
in our dresser upstairs for VJ if something
happens to me. And it’s like,
here’s what you do, here’s who you call and
here are all the things and our insurance
and everything else. Woman: I think that my
biggest obstacle right now is that when I think about the
day where I have to decide, I don’t know that I
can make the decision. Woman: That’s the kind
of burden that we bear. Having senior dogs is
the constant questioning of is it gonna be this week? Oh no, look, they rallied. Oh, he wants to go
for a walk again. He stopped eating for
two days, you know? Or she constantly uses
the house as a toilet now. Woman: I’m hoping to not
have to see her decline. Like, in a perfect world, I’ll
wake up and she’ll be dead. And she’ll have died in her
sleep and everyone was fine. That would be perfect. Man: Actually, I don’t like
to think about that moment, you know, I don’t know.
It would be painful. You’re used, it’s like
part of family, you know? Huh, Jack? You’re a good, good boy. Woman: We all wish that our
dogs could live forever, but I think that they live
for the right amount of time to have such a rich experience and to learn what
they need to learn and to give off all the massive
amounts of love that they do. Person: I probably still
have that, as we all do, when we’re really young, think
you’re gonna live forever. And then you realize, wow,
I’m, you know, middle-aged. And then it’s, like, well
it’s only middle-aged (chuckles) if you
live to a hundred ten. Woman: I’m really happy
with where I am in my life. If I were to die tomorrow, I
wouldn’t want to die tomorrow, but if I were to die
tomorrow, I’m actually okay. I’m all right. Cause I’ve done some
things that I wanted to do and I’ve created people and
met people and loved people and I’m down. Woman: 20 New Year’s
Eves together. You know, we don’t really
go out much anymore at New Year’s Eve and we
just kinda hang out at home. And my husband fell asleep
on the couch this year and Mango and I were
the only ones awake to see the ball drop. So two full decades of
New Year’s Eves, buddy. Can’t ask for more than that. (soft piano music)

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