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The Boston Globe

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Old dogs, new ways to baby them

Our dogs are living longer thanks to veterinary advances, healthier food, and owners committed to their well-being.

Life with Dempsey, a blonde Labrador retriever with a soft round head, has changed for Kevan and Sheila Cunningham. The trio once hiked on conservation land near their home in Southeastern Massachusetts. They relaxed in front of the TV as Dempsey curled up in his own chair. They took vacations as a family and slept together in a big bed.

The Cunninghams got the dog when the Lab was 8 weeks old, and they still refer to Dempsey as their “baby.” Fourteen years later the puppy is 98 in human years. Senior Dempsey, arthritic and failing, can’t climb stairs anymore, jump up to the bed, or ride in the car. The beloved pooch has good days and bad.

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