Hazel the Saint Bernese celebrates her 7th birthday!

Seven years a senior: Happy 7th birthday to Hazel the Saint Bernese

Paws For Reaction dog Hazel the Saint Bernese celebrates her 7th birthday!

There's nothing I love more than seeing joy spark across Hazel's overly expressive face. Today, Hazel's birthday is one of her most joyful days of the year, and therefore, one of her most expressive. This year I'm isolating, so we couldn't go on one of our birthday adventures. I still spoiled her with many gifts, which is her favourite part anyway. This year she has earned the title of being my 'old lady dog' like Keira did before her.

At seven, Hazel officially entered her senior dog years. She's 56 in 'human years' according to the AKC dog-to-human year conversion chart, although she's still mentally a puppy. It's hard to believe the same lopsided 10-week-old puppy with the broken femur that healed wrong, who would later continue her journey into asymmetry by developing facial nerve paralysis and UAP elbow dysplasia, would be such a healthy senior dog.

Dog years to human years age conversion chart for canines

Seven years into dealing with a doggy disability I like to think I know what I'm doing. Hazel has never been in short supply of love- or pain meds. Preventative medicine, pain management, and good nutrition have been the pillars of her care. Hazel believes the pillar of her care is anything she can lean her bum against. She also believed good nutrition is anything she finds on the street that looks remotely edible. When I look back at Hazel's first birthday I can't believe her transformation. 

Seven years a senior: Happy 7th birthday to Hazel the Saint Bernese

Each year that passes my love for this big, fluffy, drooling weirdo grows. Caring for a senior dog is a new journey for the two of us. Keira was an easy dog to care for, but Hazel is opposite in every way. She also seems to fall for any health concern that shows her the slightest bit of interest. The golden years are a big unknown for us. The only thing I know for sure is we're in this together. 

Hazel entering her golden years also bring back memories of losing Keira. It's a hurt that never disappears. It only dulls over time, but moments like Hazel's seventh birthday make the pain throb again like an old wound reopening. My dogs give me so much and leave me with many lessons and memories when they leave me behind. I leave them with Paws For Reaction, my love letter to my dogs that will outlast us all.

Happy 7th birthday Hazel, my sweet little perrita!

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