Oh wow, looks like my owners are packing up the van with dog crates and supplies, water and food dishes as well. I see luggage and lawn chairs being put in the van also. I can’t wait. My tail is wagging faster and faster. I’m turning around in circles now. My eyes are wide open with delighted anticipation. They brush by me and say to me, “Buck get out of my way and go lay down someplace will you?”
Go lay down, what are they crazy? I can’t lay down with all this excitement around me. I know where we’re going. We’re going to a dog show and we’re even going to stay in one of those fancy hotels that allow me to stay in the room with my owners. I can’t wait to share one of those big old king size beds with my masters. And if I’m really good, my owners will bring me some left over steak from one of those fancy restaurants that they always seem to find no matter what city we go to. Yup life is good being a show dog.
But wait what is this that I see? Why is my owner going over to the kennel and getting that young male dog out of his run? What’s that about and where does he think he’s going? I see him jumping up and down now as they put a collar around his neck that I would like to bite right about now. They know better than to bring him into MY house. Then where is he going to? I press my cold nosy nose against the window pane watching where they’re taking him. What’s this? They’re putting him in the van in MY dog crate. Just where does he think that he’s going to? Just wait until I get out there and get into that van and give him a piece of my mind. Hey, why are they closing the door? I haven’t been put in there yet. They probably forgot that I’m waiting for them inside the house.
I see they give a piece of paper, some keys and a handshake to the kennel helper. They get into the van and I watch them drive down the driveway. Surely they’ll turn back for me once they realize that they forgot to put me in the van. I wait and I whine and I sit staring out that window but the familiar van that I love to go for rides in doesn’t come back to get me.
The kennel help comes into the house now and sees me looking out the kitchen window. I don’t go over to greet him right away because I know once my owners realize the mistake they made; they’ll be back for me. I let out some cries and the kennel guy comes over and pats me on the head and says, “That’s alright fella’, come away from the window now and I’ll get a treat for you.” He tries to coax me with one of those dog biscuits made to look like a real bone. I never liked them very much anyway and like it even less now as he tries to make “nice, nice” to me because he knows like I know, I’ve been replaced.
Sure I’m old and gray and walk with a more cautioned step now because of that darn arthritis in my rear legs. Am I supposed to make apologies for what the passing of time has done to my less than youthful body? Have they forgotten all the trophies that my younger body brought home to grace the shelves in their family room? Have they forgotten all the lovely ladies that I “entertained” and helped fill their bank accounts so they could put that swimming pool in the back yard? Come to think of it, I haven’t entertained any lovely ladies in awhile now because that young Bronco that they just put in the van has seen to it that I haven’t. Have I been replaced?
I’ve decided I don’t feel like eating the food that my kennel help offers me. It’s not made with love like my master makes it for me. The long week end goes by and there’s something in the air. I can just tell these things. I run over to the big kitchen window and I wait patiently for the van to appear. Here it comes up the driveway now. I start to cry and turn in circles in happy anticipation for my owners to come in and apologize for their obvious mistake a few days ago. I hear the key in the door turn and in they walk. But for some reason my enthusiasm for them has changed from one of excitement to one of temperamental disdain. They’re not going to get away with this so easy. No sir!
Oh here she comes over to me saying, “Where’s my baby? Where’s my big boy?” The nerve of her to act like nothing even happened. I turn my head away from her for a moment as I watch my other owner take “HIM” out of the van and put him back in the kennel where he belongs. Good thing too, because I was ready to rock and roll with him……arthritis and all!
She continues to muss on me scratching my ears and trying to rub my tummy acting like nothing ever happened. The kennel boy tells her I barely ate a morsel since they left. “Oh Buck is that true?” she asks me, like I have a human vocabulary to answer her back with. She gives me some more loving even though I’m still slow to warm up to her. Then the kennel help says the words that I want to but can’t. He tells her, “I think old Buck feels like he’s been replaced.” With that she turns and hugs me tight and says, “Never, no one could ever replace you Buck. No matter how many dogs I have, no one could ever replace you.” With that, I give her a big kiss, roll over on the floor and allow her to scratch my belly and plan my revenge on that young “wanna be” the next time I see him.
Moral of the story: Our old guys know when the playing field has changed and they can no longer do what they once did. But even though their body ages, their hearts remain forever young as long as they feel that they haven’t been replaced.
From the book: "CARING FOR YOUR AGING DOG"..........Today, veterinarians know more about small-animal geriatrics than ever before—making it possible for dogs to live longer, better lives. But science and technology alone aren’t enough: we have to do our part, too. And this thorough guide to the older dog teaches us how. It introduces the basics of caring for a senior pet; examines issues of genetics, environment, and nutrition; presents a “prevention primer” for forestalling disease and old-age conditions; and explains how to recognize vital signs of change, from cloudy eyes to achy joints. Most important, it offers comforting advice on what to do when your beloved pet does get sick, and how to deal with both the financial and emotional costs. Throughout, dog owners tell their inspiring personal stories.
My rating: Letting the older dog know he's still very much loved and valued: (4)