Thursday, October 29, 2015


If you are lucky in life, you will have a good old dog.  This post was written for our first.  We are double lucky, going on good old dog number two.  Wouldn't think too much about it but the weather has turned cooler and those old dog joints start creaking.  Still he remains faithful, following my every step.  Here's to all the good old dogs.

Years ago, I asked the vet if this year old pup would ever settle down.  Everyone oohs and aahs over the cute little things, but puppy hood is fleeting, at times it can seem unending.  After raising a puppy and a baby, I have decided a baby is easier than a puppy, except you can’t let the baby sit outside on the deck for too long.   

Good Old Dog #1
Last week while taking the old dog to the vet, I was introduced to two different breeds of dogs.  The first dog was an adult Shar Pei who had grown into his skin and wasn’t so cute anymore.  The other fellow was a Basenji pup, already very trim and no-nonsense.  He was adorable. My cousin had one that bounced off the walls.  Then there was this old mutt, my dog, panting heavily, walking poorly, eyes dulled in pain, who had just wet the car seat and was horribly embarrassed.    

Burt's parents have a new puppy.  We were re-introduced to the daily rigors of puppy pandemonium - all legs and no grace, eager to explore every little thing.  It was like getting to play with a fun toddler but you are happy to see the parents come home.  Sigh of relief.  Despite the charm of youthful exuberance, puppies just can’t compare to a good old dog.

With a bit of smarts, loving care and a good fence, most dogs can get old but being old doesn’t make every dog good.  Being the owner of a good old dog is bittersweet.  A picture on the shelf captures a five-year old squeezing her new Humane Society pup as she carries him into his new home.  Now he rests just a few feet from the picture frame, all sixty-five pounds, dreaming of the years he could lasso the water hose.  Or his adventures with Buddy, the big black lab on the lam, who could open gates and lead a good romp through the neighborhood, ending with a splash in the fishpond next door.  Dreaming of pork roast, chicken fried steak, an occasional chicken bone, the old dog licks his chops in his sleep, remembering his flavorful prowess in the kitchen.  Little bits of bark in his sleep, remembering his important job as gatekeeper and the one time he truly charged a questionable sort, chasing the dude out into the yard, away from Mama and the front door.  Pretty good for an old dog, and then obeying her command to come into the house, never looking away from the stranger. 

Old dogs do learn new tricks.  Wetting on the snow covered deck, instead of going down the snowy stairs.  Realizing veggies are pretty tasty, but never lettuce.  Cats are not worth the effort.  The garage can be comfy, with blankets.  Low grumbles are not favored.  Peppermint will only last so long.  Respect can be gained with a full body stretched across the main route to the kitchen.  Jumping is not fun, even to curl up on the reserved spot of the bed or lay right under the pillows.  Aches and pains are almost cured when someone you love gets down on the floor and curls up with you.  After all these years, humans can still learn new tricks.       

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