Older Dog

Olive is about six years old now. There’s a little eyebrow of white in the brown smudge over her right eye. While I read and swing in the back yard, she usually lies prone in a patch of sunlight instead of dashing around crazy after her arch enemy the squirrel. She’s slower to jump in and out of the car, and there’s some new sort of dignity that beams out of her on the rare occasion that she makes eye contact.

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Olive. Photo by Andy

Olive at 7.

Every so often though, she’ll be hit by something and turn back to her silly young self. Olive has the least decorous run of any dog you’ll ever see. I call her The Dorkhound, when she does this. She’s a little swaybacked, her head bobs up and down from the shoulders, and her ears flap while she goes. This is all capped off with an open mouth that seems to grin. Finally she’ll get so excited that she’ll spin in a galloping circle and eventually fall over herself with glee. It’s rare, but she still does it, and when she does there’s no trace of the burgeoning old lady.

I’ve noticed that with Jeffrey around, Olive takes on a few more personalties. She’s at first Stodgy Olive, annoyed by the rambunctious whipper-snapper of a puppy. Next she’s forgotten herself and started playing wildly, this is Young at Heart Olive. She spins, lunges, runs, and whirls. After a bit she tires out and tries to call time, but Jeffrey (Jeff Vader as I’ve nicknamed him) doesn’t get that. It takes Big Strong Olive to get her point across. That version never lasts long, and is a pretty difficult character for her to adopt.

Its both wonderful and sad to see her interact with a young dog. She’s much more vigorous when Jeffrey’s around, and seems like more of a dog somehow instead of a person. They roll around all over each other and vie for more attention.

He highlights her age though. Jeffrey’s getting stronger and more powerful by the day. Soon Big Strong Olive will be unrecognizable next to him. I’m guessing that as time goes by, she’ll sit beside me and watch him play, and join in less and less. I know I’m anthropomorphizing, but I somehow think she’ll feel older and more fragile.

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2 Responses to “Older Dog”

  1. Andy Says:

    My eyes got a little damp reading this. Olive is even more wonderful with Jeffrey around. His days are less fun and his mood a bit forlorn when she’s not around.

    You didn’t mention how comfortable they look when they loll and nap together.

  2. aggiezoe Says:

    I think she’s better with him around too, actually.

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