We are now officially a three-dog household. We've taken in my partner's dad's dog, (who shall be known as Old Girl here) full-time, whereas before now we were taking care of her when he was out of town, which sometimes got extended for fairly long stretches. Now that Old Girl is getting, well, older -- she has some arthritis and she's become quite deaf in the past year -- my father-in-law is less able to take care of her. (He's getting older too.) Old Girl used to live with my GF many years ago in another state (when my GF was some one else's GF), along with The Boss -- they get along just fine because Old Girl isn't interested in challenging anyone else's power. Speedy, on the other hand, loves Old Girl with a passion that is rooted in her puppyhood, when they used to play together. Old Girl has always been very gentle and tolerant with young pups.
I think she's happy to be staying with us -- she gets more walks, and home-cooked meals, and plenty of companionship in our pack. But it's sad to see how much she's changing as she's getting older. She spends most of the day sleeping, and she's more and more in her own world because of the deafness. Taking care of Old Girl triggers a lot of my own concerns about getting older, about our parents getting older, all the eldercare issues we will have to be facing in the next five to ten years. Of course it's infinitely easier to take care of an aging golden retriever than one's aging parent. A practice run of sorts.