6 min read

Woman Does The Sweetest Thing For The Senior Dog She Adores

“You could just see it in her face that she just loves when the sun hits her face.”

Jamie Holt knows that her yellow Lab, Joanie, doesn’t have much time left. Last August, Joanie celebrated her 16th birthday, making her a true centenarian if you convert her doggy age into human years.

“I’ve been home-cooking for her for the last 11 years,” Holt told The Dodo. “I swear that’s part of the reason that she’s gotten this far.”

Dog celebrating 16th birthday
Joanie celebrating her 16th birthday with Holt | Jamie Holt

Joanie was just 6 weeks old when she came to live with Holt — and it’s hard for Holt to imagine life without her furry friend.

“Somebody said to me yesterday that the two of us kind of grew up together, and I was, like, ‘That’s kind of funny, but it’s kind of true,’” Holt said. “I’ve definitely been through a lot in the past 16 and a half years with her. It has been quite a rollercoaster, but it’s always just been me and her.”

Woman hugging yellow lab
Holt giving Joanie a hug | Jamie Holt

Holt also named Joanie after her mother, who passed away when Holt was only 14 years old. And although Holt never had children of her own, she thinks of Joanie as her child.

“She taught me how to be a mom,” Holt said. “When I got her, I was in a much different state of mind and a different part of my life. But from day one, it was like, ‘Right. She’s my responsibility, and she’s taught me how to be a mom. I look at her as my child.’”

Woman hugging yellow lab
Jamie Holt

But Joanie is a senior dog now, and she recently started having health issues — skin irritations, kidney problems, pneumonia and even seizures. Joanie also has trouble walking, and Holt often carries her outside to the yard.

Senior dog with open mouthed smile
Jamie Holt

“The last few weeks have been a little bumpier,” Holt said. “I know the time is coming. It’s been a little rough.”

Until that time comes, Holt is doing everything she can to bring happiness — and a little sunshine — into Joanie’s life.

Yellow lab snuggled up in blankets
Jamie Holt

“I’m just trying to spend every minute I have with her, and make it good for her and make sure that she’s comfortable and not suffering,” Holt said.

One thing Joanie loves is lying outside in the sun, so Holt did something sweet for her — she placed Joanie’s dog bed on the sunniest spot in the yard. Then she put Joanie’s doggy coat on, and wrapped her up with extra blankets and a fluffy comforter. Joanie loves it.

Dog sleeping in dog bed outside
Holt took Joanie's dog bed outside so she could enjoy the sunshine | Jamie Holt
Dog snuggled up in dog bed outside
Jamie Holt

“She just sits there and stares into the sun like so many dogs like to do,” Holt said. “She puts her head back and sniffs the air with her eyes half shut or all the way shut. You can just see it in her face that she just loves when the sun hits her face.”

Doggy wrapped up in blankets outside
Jamie Holt
Dog in blankets enjoying sunshine
Jamie Holt

Holt takes Joanie outside every chance she can — and she’ll keep doing this for as long as she can.

Dog in blankets enjoying sunshine
Jamie Holt

“I always thought of her as my little sunshine, ever since she was a puppy,” Holt said. “And she knows it because I sing the song to her all the time. She's given me 16 and a half years (and counting) of sunshine.”