Flip’s Golden Years: Why My Dog is Retiring at 10 Years Old
My Boxer, Flip, is ready to retire after a well-lived 10 years. Although, I believe some of his best days are yet to come. It’s hard to believe that a decade has gone by since he came into my life. Now, he can enjoy the good life of sleeping all day, going for occasional walks and playing fetch, receiving endless belly rubs, and of course, still eating his homemade dog food, which has contributed to his long-term health.
Kelly and I first met Flip when we were doing a donation drop at a rescue and his floppy ears and paws were following us around everywhere.
I say floppy paws because he had been in a cage that was too small for him and his paws atrophied, so he was unable to control them properly.
He had to “flip” them up to walk. While that seemed cute at the moment, it was actually a sign of the neglect he had already faced at such a young age.
Flip’s neglectful past led to distemper
For a few weeks I kept thinking about Flip and knew he was the dog for me. So we decided to adopt him! But the night we brought him home, things took a turn for the worse and I knew something was terribly wrong.
We ended up in the ER doing tests, getting him fluids and things were deteriorating quickly, I thought we were going to lose him. He was diagnosed with distemper, a condition that many dogs don’t survive. Distemper is a highly contagious viral disease that affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems.
The vet had “the talk” with us about our options and humanely euthanizing him would be the best option. I remember knowing she was right. I paused for what seemed like 5 minutes. How could I disagree with what she was saying? He was down and out. But I couldn’t give up on this little guy.
I just promised him I would be his best friend forever. So I compromised with her and myself. I told her okay but let’s give it one more night.
The bond between Flip and us strengthened through illness and recovery
When Kelly and I returned the next morning we brought him his favorite toy. We were prepared for the worst. But when we walked in, the vet had a smile on her face!
She said he was lifting his head and that was a good sign he had turned the corner. She asked if we wanted to see if he would eat some wet food.
Of course we did! I still remember him looking at me with his big eyes and expressive eyebrows. Boxers have the most expressive eyebrows of any breed, and at that moment, I knew we were going to be best friends for life. After about a week (and $$$) he was well enough to come home! The vet let us know he still had a long road to recovery but I knew he was going to be ok.
Boxers are known for their silly, playful, and affectionate nature, which perfectly describes Flip. But this personality was overshadowed by his illness for the first 6 months we had him. Slowly but surely, his playful and goofy side came out as he got better and better. And our friendship grew.
Watch this video ⬇️ where a gift Flip 100 giant tennis balls to celebrate his cancer-free victory!
Flip has been through a lot with me
We’ve been through a lot with Flip.
>He’s had multiple tumors removed, luckily all were caught early on.
>We were on the cover of a magazine!
>He’s lived on a boat in the marina, in a small beach house, and is now living out his retired life on our California coffee farm.
>He was there when Kelly & I got married and along for the birth of our two kids.
>He’s been the father figure to all the foster dogs we’ve had in and out of our house.
>A toy was even created based on his goofy face
Retirement for Flip means enjoying life on a California coffee farm
Flip’s crisp black, brown and white lines have now faded to a gray blend, though I didn’t realize it until I looked back at some younger pictures of him.
When I say I am retiring Flip, I basically mean he’s no longer on duty to help me with fostering dogs. People often thank me for rehabilitating dogs but honestly Flip should get just as much if not more of the gratitude.
Watch this video ⬇️ where Flip reacts to a water fountain. It will make you laugh!
Because we take on the dogs with special needs like blind dogs, feral dogs, injured dogs, etc, I always relied on him. And he always seemed to know just what to do. He showed feral dogs that came from hoarding situations how to be dogs.
He gave gentle but assertive corrections to dogs that needed help with boundaries. And he put up with so much crap from puppy after puppy.
Like Jalapeno in his special Bailey chair, Willie with his WILD over the top blind dog bravery and Kobe…oh all of the things Flip has put up with when it comes to Kobe! Kobe has run into Flip too many times to count.
You may see Flip less and less in videos, my instagram posts etc, though he will be the first to tell you that he’s not passing on any sort of taste test!
He and Zoey, who is now 15 years old, have earned their much deserved retirement and I’m honored to care and be here for him throughout his senior years and beyond.
The best dog & best friend I’ve ever had
Flip is the best dog I have ever had. I call him my best friend and he will always hold that place in my heart.
Now we will focus on spending special moments and days together and as each day passes, time becomes more special with my best friend.
Rocky and Flip today:
- Fostering Is So Important. Learn Why With Rocky Kanaka
- What I Learned Living with 3 Blind Dogs: Interview with Rocky Kanaka
- Puppuccino Recipe from Pet Chef Rocky Kanaka
- All-Time Best Dog Food Brands for Boxers