Two of our dogs died in 2008. Mungo, the love of my life, aged only 5 years, died suddenly one February night, with no warning, from spleen cancer. Jonah the Paper Dog had been diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver in 2007 and given a short life expectancy, but he outlived Mungo, dying in November, 2008, aged 12, and a year and a half after his diagnosis. He lived on Cheerios, cottage cheese, rice and egg white, a diet we discovered because when he was not able to eat even the very pricey special liver-diet food, he still snarfed up Cheerios from the floor with wild abandon. So we poured his dish full of Cheerios twice a day, and he graced us with more of his life than we had any right to expect.
Dover was born in February 2008, and we fetched him home in April, much to our delight and Jonah's disgust. Dover adored Jonah and was swift to move in and snuggle up, but Jonah considered Dover a cockroach in his life. He tolerated Dover's adoration and taught him how to bring in the morning newspaper, although he continued to be the main paper dog up until the last day of his life.
This blog will have a lot to say about Dover. I knew when I retired I wanted to visit nursing homes with Mungo, but Mungo, first of all, didn't live long enough, and second of all, would have been a dismal failure because one of his goals in life was to eat everything in sight within a nanosecond of spotting the goods - not good manners for a visiting dog.
So Dover now has his CGC (Canine Good Citizenship) and TDI (Therapy Dogs International) certificates, and we do visit nursing homes, currently two, three or four a month. I hope to add a few more soon.