Everything started with Gabe, the magnificent Great Dane mix you see pictured above in his youth. We found him abandoned at the local animal shelter at 9 months old because in his loneliness, he barked too much when left isolated outside, and his "neighbors didn't like dogs." He was curled up on the hard concrete floor of his cage, incredibly depressed and sad amidst the constant noise from barking dogs in nearby cages and browsing visitors walking past his cage. We asked if we could take him outside to walk around a bit. He brightened up a little, but seemed cautiously reserved, as if he was preparing himself for another disappointing return to his cage. We fell in love with Gabe immediately. We refused to let the staff return him to his cage while we completed the required paperwork to adopt him to join our family of two other dogs and a cat. Gabe was never going to have to spend another moment in a cage again!
So began our wonderful life with Gabe, a huge, lumbering dog who was incredibly gentle and loving. He loved swimming in lakes and splashing through streams. And he was smart too -- when we had to be out of town once, the pet sitter reported that Gabe had apparently learned how to open the refrigerator door himself, and he treated himself and our other dogs to a party of meats, cheeses, and eggs all over the floor!
Gabe enjoyed good health for most of his life. However, when he reached his later senior years (14+), he experienced more serious arthritis and joint pain, as well as nerve deterioration along his spine and hind leg weakness. For a large dog, weighing over 100 pounds, he was quite old at this point and well past the "normal" life span for a dog of this size.
In Gabe's 15th year, I often struggled with the daily challenges of caring for him. This was new territory for me. I had learned a lot over the years about ways to improve caring for our dogs and cats. The result of changes like feeding high-quality (human-grade) food and avoiding over-vaccination were evident in Gabe. He was the largest, yet longest-lived dog we had ever owned. And with that extended life came new care challenges. Gabe was always constant in his love and devotion to me, and I was determined to return that love by providing the best care and quality of life I could for him.
Of course, none of us lives forever. Sadly, it was time to say goodbye to Gabe in November 2017, two months before his 16th birthday. In "dog years," he was well over 100. I am grateful that he was not in pain, and he was snoozing comfortably in his bed with his head in my lap when his veterinarian euthanized him.
During those last several months of caring for Gabe, I realized many others likely faced some of the same difficulties I did in caring for their senior dogs and cats. I thought about the lengthy conversations I had had with veterinarians over the best and least-invasive treatments for Gabe. I reflected on all the nights and weekends I spent scouring the Internet for solutions for Stoney, my aged cat, during the last years of his life.
Research to find good solutions is extremely time-consuming. I envisioned bringing together -- in a single website -- articles with advice, tips, and products focused on improving the lives of our beloved companions as they adjust to this unique stage in their lives.
I founded Sabi Pets for these reasons. "Sabi" is a Japanese concept which celebrates that which is old and faded. It means "the bloom of time" and appreciation for dignified, graceful aging.
Sabi Pets provides resources to those caring for aging animal companions. We strive to provide targeted information and quality products to help your loyal friends age with dignity and to experience comfort and happiness in this beautiful chapter in their lives.
I hope you will find resources here that help you and your companions to enjoy many more wonderful years together.