A long aside to owners: Oregon Collie Rescue urges owners who release older dogs for adoption to carefully consider such a decision. Sadly, we have become a dumping ground for older dogs who are not "adoptable" because of their age and/or medical conditions. Most adopters want younger animals without chronic medical conditions, so the older dogs most often become our "resident dogs" who with TLC and medical care do live good, longer, happy lives. But this places an undue burden on Collie Rescue volunteers who use their personal resources to care for other peoples' older animals. The pool of foster places is frozen by the limits of spaces and funding. Please be responsible and continue to care for your older animal. Yes, it is sometimes more expensive. You may have to give up some little treats and luxuries. But isn't the dog who loves you without conditions and judgment worth it? Would you kick out your sister if she got ill? No, so don't do it to your faithful dog. After twelve years loving you, it is hard to adjust to a new family. Sometimes there are circumstances beyond one's control, but too often we have seen people give up their dogs for sheer convenience or the inability to face their dogs mortality.
There are newer medications that help with older dog's health challenges, especially females who often have urinary track and uterine problems. Anti-inflammatories are also available for dogs who suffer from arthritis. Some are reasonable and some are very expensive but effective, like Rimadyl. Please do what you can for your dog. When you are facing "end of life" time for your pet, and you don't want your old and ill dog to suffer, please make arrangements with a vet to ease the passage from life to death, a blessed release in some circumstances. A good good-bye with the people a dog loves is the best rather than having strangers take that responsibility.