We all love dogs, right? We love our own dogs, and we fall in love with dogs we see at shows. For handlers and their assistants, we love the dogs we work with.

Within the dog show community, everyone is connected by one constant – the dogs.

Well, for the past week or so, I’ve encountered some situations that just forced my heart to grow heavier and heavier. Although the circumstances were not mine personally, as a dog lover and someone who is involved in the sport, they hit close to home.

What I’ve been thinking about is this: How does a dog lover get through the period at the end of a dog’s life?

Me hanging out with some of the Beagle crew. From left to right: Walker,14 years; Parker, 10, and Rhett, 13.

When I inevitably have to face this situation, the best thing I can ask for will be support and help from my family and friends. Even though I’ll know deep down there’s nothing that can really “fix” the situation, it’ll be the love and support that I will look for.

This may be a morbid topic to discuss, but as I found myself thinking about old dogs – and the dogs I’ve loved – I realized that if someone were to ask me what the average life expectancy is for a certain breed, I’m not sure I would be able to answer the question accurately.

So I decided to do some research and was somewhat shocked by what I found out about some breeds.

Of course, we all know the average age our own breeds will reach. But I was shocked to learn that about 10 breeds registered with the AKC – especially some of the giants – have a life span of only eight years. Several breeds are expected to live only six years! That is crazy, and I can only hope that in the future their life expectancy will increase.

We’ve all said or thought it before – “I wish dogs could live forever.” That must be especially true for these breeds.

So with this in mind, I think now is probably as good a time as any for me to spend some extra quality time hanging out with my own doggies that are getting up there in age.

Albert Einstein said, “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

I think we have to remember that our dogs’ lives are a miracle. It’s this thinking that will help us to get through those times when reality causes our hearts to grow heavy.

As if you didn’t already know… Dogs Freakin’ Rule!