October 23, 2011

Facing Facts

I need to face the fact that I am getting older. I will be 5 years old in February and as I approach that milestone, I am becoming more and more aware of what this means.

For one, I am often asked to be more patient. As a pup, I could let my youth be my excuse for being overly frisky and giving into crazed moments of frolic. My humans would often laugh or chase me around trying control my prepubescent exuberance. And even during puberty, they’d often let my Dennis the Menace behavior be moments of amusement and not cause for parental worry.

But now that I am moving away from my fourth year and into my fifth, I am asked to control my impulses more. For those of you who know me, you are most likely grinning that knowing grin – the one that says, “Uh yeah…Rubin control himself?” I hear ya. Sure, I know how to pose for a photo, but what you don’t see are all the times when I throw myself on the ground, roll around like a crazed maniac, and then bark at the sky just because it’s gray and I want it to be blue, or it’s blue and I want it to be gray. (I know you see some of those photos, but mostly you see me behaving…often more than my compatriots!)

So this past week, I tried to bust loose a bit, to resow my oats and let the frisk out of my bones a little bit more because frankly, I will soon not be as youthful and playful as I am now. So the photo above, is of me and Rosie practicing our youthfulness. We’d been posing for about 2 minutes while Gretchen waited for the exact moment and the exact photo that captured us on this particular day. That’s when I whispered to Rosie, “Make a funny face on the count of three!”

Rosie is always willing to let her frisk out so on the count of three, we made the faces you see above. Let me show you the shot right before, next to those funny faces one more time…

This is why I love Rosie…she is always willing to get silly with me.

Another fact I’ve had to face is that while I’m getting older, so are my friends. In fact, most of my friends are older than I am and while I enjoy their elderly viewpoints and wisdom it means that often, at the end of the day, I’m the only one still standing and ready to keep playing.

Monty is one of my oldest friends though not necessarily just in years. He was one of the first dogs to meet me when I was just a pup and he’s taught me a lot in these four plus years. But one of my oldest (as in age, not time I’ve known her) is my buddy Ginger. Now Ginger gives me a whole new perspective on what it means to grow older. Ginger is 12 and if you ever met her on the street YOU WOULD NEVER KNOW IT!

Ginger is the very definition of youthful exuberance. She is a dog in constant motion. Constant! And when she sees us coming, she goes into overdrive.

Notice the photo to the right — where Monty, Ginger and I are all posing calmly and patiently. Well, if I could show you the whole sequence of photos, you’d see that there is only ONE shot where we all look at the camera (well, I look at the camera all the time) because Monty and Ginger, while still sitting, are looking all over the place.

Especially Ginger who likes to throw her head back and tell us, “Take the darn photo! It’s time to run and play and be obnoxious!”

(Sidenote: In that first photo, they both kind of look like they have headdresses on with those trees in the background, yes?)

Duke is older than I am too, but Duke is the polar opposite of Ginger. He is calm, mild-mannered, and rarely ever gets excited about anything. Duke had to move back to Port Townsend after making an attempt to live in the city, but he came back to visit this week and I took him up to his favorite place in all the world — THE BAKERY!

If you wanna see Mr. Calm get excited, take him to the bakery. This guy LOVES bread (I think it’s the French in him) and he does anything he can to walk past the bakery. In fact, he’s been known to actually stop in the middle of the street, refusing to move, if he thinks we’re going to go in a direction away from the bakery.

At first, I couldn’t figure out his love of baked goods, but then I realized it’s his mom’s fault as Ellen always gives him a taste of what she’s eating. I bet if Gretchen did the same, I’d get a hankering for a croissant or a brioche!

But that’s another thing about getting older — I’m having to watch my waistline.

Yes, I know I’m a svelte boy with fine bones, but now that I have an appetite (thanks to my good food from the Pet Pantry) everyone who feeds me is giving me a bit less because they want to make certain I stay in proper doodle shape.

Luckily, I get lots of exercise. In fact, this week I got some “alone” time with Gretchen and we did what I love to do — went to the lake and walked, romped, fetched, and practiced. Yeah, I know that practicing stuff doesn’t sound like much fun, but in a way, it’s kind of like a game.

Gretchen said it was too cold to go swimming, so we found a stick and played some fetch on the shoreline. Mostly though, I like to just curl up with my stick and gnaw on it! Canine Bliss!

And then we practiced my sit/stay, down/stay from a distance followed by “Come!” I really like the part when I don’t have to stay anymore!

Of course, while exercise is a good thing, sometimes I overdo it. This tends to happen when I hang out with friends younger than me. In a word — Paige. But wow is it ever fun! This week Monty and I both got to hang and romp with Paige and both Monty and I paid for it the next day, but it was worth every sore muscle and achy joint, believe you me!

But don’t let Monty fool ya. He can run and run and run and then, when you think he’s spent, walk him by the lake when it’s wavy. Oh my! He goes crazy wild! Luckily, Gretchen caught him being calm and relaxed right before the waves kicked up on our walk down by the lake!

The passage of time is sort of a double-edged sword. Yes, I can feel the years in my bones, but I can also appreciate the changing seasons. This week the Autumn season glowed and I was very happy to share in the light of the season with all my friends. Time makes you appreciate it more the more time you spend with it. Does that make any sense?

Of course, the changing of this season is bringing about one of the oddest human celebrations I’ve ever experienced — Halloween.

I was reminded again of how odd this holiday is on a walk through the Volunteer Park neighborhood with Monty. Monty wasn’t the least bit worried when we walked by this…but I had to take a second look just to make certain I was safe! Some fears never go away no matter how old you get. There’s a fact I need to face!

Until next time!

Rubin

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