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For you dog lovers out there, you can feel lots of empathy for what my family and I are going through now.  Our very best friend, yellow Labrador Jake is on his last few weeks of a very fun life.  We got him from Lab Rescue about 9 years ago and he is now turning 13 years old, limited in his ambulation due to hip issues and not having the spunk he used to have in the least.  The quality of life and pain he seems to be in would suggest that soon we will need to let him be in peace.  Those of you that have had to make this determination as to when to put your dog down, you know how difficult this decision is.  For non-dog people out there it is sort of easy to chalk this off as “Hey…it’s just a dog…not a person.”    But many of you know exactly what the terms “best friend” and “unconditional love” mean as this relates to our pets.

Dogs and other animals age much faster than humans.  We have all heard the expression “dog years” referring to the fact that one year of “dog life” is the equivalent of 13 years of human life.

We all seek ways of decelerating the aging process.  Cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol usage, illicit drug usage, not enough sleep, having very stressful occupations:  These are things that clearly accelerate the aging process, so ensuring that these are not present can help Decelerate the process.

You knew this topic was gonna be brought up, so here goes:  Weight control.  Excessive weight “ages” many organs and body structures.  Weight-related co-morbidities such as hypertension and hypertension will “age” the cardiovascular system.  The lungs, kidneys and other internal organs will “age” more rapidly as well if poor weight control is present.  Weight bearing joints such as the lower back, hips, knees, ankles and feet will show signs of advanced aging when called upon to carry heavier loads of weight.

On the “outside” our faces show a more youthful “look” when we are able to control weight.  The slimmer figures that result from effective weight control are yet another “deceleration” impact of the aging process.

We would all love to turn back the calendar and be the age that we felt and looked our very best.  We cannot really do this but one of the things we can do is keep steadfast and focused on our weight control efforts.  Your successful efforts will result in a decelerating of the aging process.

And to our loyal and very best friend Jake:  All dogs go to heaven.  You will chase those balls, hop on the kitchen counter grabbing food, run at Burke Lake Park and hop eagerly in the car to go on a road trip once again.  We love you very much and will miss you dearly.