10 is the new 7

Does this look like an old dog to you?

My two-legged companions take me — and my bestest, bestest friend, Kate — to the dog park two or three times a week. I love to run and chase after tennis balls that they throw for me. The other people there say they like to watch me run. One lady said, “What’s more beautiful than a Red Setter romping across a green field?” I couldn’t agree more.

Lately, though, something different has happened. People come up to us and ask, “How old is your Irish Setter?” They never used to do that. I don’t get it. What does my age have to do with anything?

Then my two-legged companions let me know the reason: my muzzle is getting some grey in it, a sign I am getting…older. I don’t really know what that means, getting older. I have my 10th birthday coming up this fall. I can’t see my muzzle — well I can if I look straight down my nose but I have a long nose — and that makes me cross-eyed.

Is 10 old for a dog? I asked a Yellow Labrador at the dog park, and he just shrugged, like “I dunno.” He ran off and asked a coupla Schnauzers, came back and told me they don’t even know how old they are. Prob’ly a good thing.

So the problem is all about a little grey on my chin. How shallow can these humans be? It must be all the daytime TV they watch. I feel great. That’s the point, isn’t it?

Maybe they don’t realize that dogs can live longer these days. My two-legged companions make sure I get a annual wellness checkups every 6 months. Kate and I also get fed high quality dog food, Spot’s Stew. Or we get homemade with chicken brown rice and string beans or ground sirloin, potatoes and peas. We never get fed table scraps. Well.  Okay, if I can steal food off the counter I do, but those aren’t scraps.

I think people need to revise their estimate of how dogs age and  how healthy we can be. For us, 10 is the new 7. And I can prove it. When people who don’t know me see me going full speed across the park, overrunning the tennis ball and then skidding to a stop, reversing course, skidding some more and finally retrieving it, they tell my tw0-legged companions, “She runs like a gangly pup.”

Okay, I accept gangly. Gangly is just fine by me.

But I’m not old. Maybe they make “Nice and Easy” for dogs.

Rose, the Irish Setter

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