Senior Border Collies Need to Keep Moving
Senior Border Collies –WHEN THE BODY FAILS…HOW TO KEEP THE SPIRIT STRONG.
By Lillie Goodrich
Founder, Executive Director & President, Glen Highland
Senior Border Collies. At Glen Highland Senior Border Collie Sanctuary & Rescue, we deal with a very athletic breed. Well known for their agile prowess and accomplishments, Border Collies, like other working dogs, age differently from other breeds.
In fact, a healthy 9 or 10 year old Border Collie can be more similar to a young dog than to an old one. They will go, go, go and are motivated by the physical nature of living.
Similar to most working canines, keeping these dogs active and healthy is the key to aging gracefully with quality of life. In the many years I have been working with these amazing dogs, I have been fortunate enough to learn more and more about how to keep them active and engaged.
THE CLINT EASTWOOD OF DOGS
HUNTER with all his strength and glory, was brilliant and tough. He played ball like a frothing machine. and charged through the creek on the trails like a Trojan horse. He herded other dogs mercilessly and was endlessly digging up sand and dirt.
Hunter was no easy Border Collie but boy oh boy, he was majestic. Even when he was guarding his bones with full growls that made you halt with even the thought of taking the bone from him. He was in charge. At age three he landed at Glen Highland Border Collie Rescue for nipping kids and chasing cars.
Now imagine THAT personality and energy diminishing because the body was changing. The mind was still strong, even sight and hearing good but the body was in pain. HUNTER COULD NO LONGER BE HUNTER.
So roll ahead to age 14…volunteers would meet this sweet Border Collie and watch him shuffle around the yard and just think he was the kindest soul they could imagine and we would just howl, knowing they had no idea of his history. Poor Hunter with all that bravado had spondylosis which like sciatic is so painful, it ruined his senior years so he in fact, did shuffle rather than run. BUT HE WANTED TO MOVE!
We tried various treatments and were able to gain well over a year and increased quality of life with the supplement MYOS Canine Muscle Formula so he could be upright. MYOS Canine is fueled by Fortetropin, an all-natural ingredient that has been clinically proven to increase lean muscle in dogs. Instead of a roached back with crippled up legs, Hunter gained muscle mass with this supplement and was able to actually MOVE again.
He gained 1 1/2 inches in his thighs which gave him enough power to chase a ball and even chase after a truck or two (behind the fence). We had previously tried Gabapentin & CBD-oil to diminish the pain which helped for a while but was not enough. He could not use NSAID’s due to his kidney disease so finding MYOS was a tremendous win for Hunter.
One year later as weeks unfolded, renal failure was taking a huge toll, too. The magnificent old man had finally met his match…his body told the truth and it was time to send him back to spirit where he could again soar. The sweet old man with the hell-raising history was now about to let go.
DUBLIN – THE FIRECRACKER OF THE GROUP
Another grand Senior now at Glen Highland is DUBLIN, age 13. He is a ‘firecracker’ of a dog, matching that gorgeous red color! Mentally engaged and full of curiosity, Dublin is a force of energy just like Hunter.
DUBLIN returned to Glen Highland in 2021 at age 12 due to divorce. Many years after his first rehoming when he was 4 years old. This change will be his last as he is a resident for his remaining years. A happy, super smart Border Collie, he loves his ball as much as his person! Focused for lots of attention as well as ball tosses, he wins over anyone he meets.
Focused Border Collies are the norm. Any Border Collie guardian knows just how important that focus is to their happiness. Yes, they may cuddle on the couch for a bit but they truly are not laying around in their older years. They want to DO SOMETHING: a good hike; a great ball game; some mental games of hide ’n’ seek. They will tackle it all and be far happier for it.
Dublin has mobility challenges with severe degenerative arthritis in his back legs and front. A really tough combination, so we’re providing much-needed pain management. When he exercises a bit too much, he has difficulty getting up or maneuvering for normal play sessions. Like many Seniors, he pushes through discomfort with a strong focused will. As he ages, the range of motion in both back legs is so badly limited. He cannot manage any steps whatsoever and all ball games must be played ‘in close’.
For Dublin, like Hunter and many others, the MYOS supplement has been a lifesaver. active Border Collies keep going. He is strong enough to continue herding the other dogs with some speed that satisfies him. It is so wonderful to see!
Following one another
Many of our Glen Highland Seniors blossom in an environment with other Border Collies because they enjoy the herding minds. When one moves, so does the other and when one says ‘game on’, they all agree. Keeping these lively Seniors happy is an emotional challenge. But when we are able to see them light up it is all so well worth it. Their love and appreciation is truly a gift, one that we treasure.
See Dr. Albert Ahn’s interview on the Pet Radio Show. He shares some great insight on How to Help your Senior Dog.
GLEN HIGHLAND provides safe haven to 20 -25 Border Collies in their senior years. Often, it’s due to a guardian’s death or illness. Yet other times, they are found as strays and land in shelters.
OLDER DOGS OF ANY BREED ARE AT GREAT RISK OF LOOSING THEIR LIVES.
Hard to adopt due to medical costs and impending death realities, they are usually overlooked and the first to be euthanized due to space issues.
GLEN HIGHLAND is located in Virginia but covers the entire Northeast region as far west as the Midwest if needed. Glen Highland is the most established Border Collie Rescue in the country having rehomed over 3000 dogs since 2001.
Glen Highland Senior Rescue & Sanctuary
The rescue caretakers measured the dogs’ mid-thigh circumference weekly:
- their movement on flat terrain
- speed in moving over a distance
- ability to rise from laying down
Each dog on Fortetropin gained a full inch or more in muscle mass on each back leg. They are all stronger in their mobility. For the two most disabled dogs, Dougie and Reo, the benefits were tremendous.
- Dougie: This was a huge win. Born with no hip sockets at all, he was prone to ACL tears. He gained more mobility and strength than ever seen before. His 9 inch thigh increased to 10 ½ inches on the left and 12 inches on the right..
- Reo: Trauma, most likely a car grazing her, left her without good mobility. Her 8 3/4th inch thighs measure 9 ½ inches on the left and 10 ½ inches on the right. She became stronger, faster and had a much better life.
Thanks to this new treatment, Lillie’s Border Collies are much more active and mobile. She continues to see progress with the MYOS Canine formula regime and a new set of senior dogs who have become residents of the sanctuary, are also on the formula. This includes Sadie, a 15 year old Border Collie with an ACL tear that can’t be repaired; Ripley, 14 who suffers from severe generative arthritis and continues to see progress.