Monday, January 19, 2009

I'm Only Human

Right. I got it. Beating myself up for Very Old Dog's skinned up nose was a little over the edge. I'm not God. Thank you, dear commenters, for giving me a little perspective!

Yesterday was more typical of Western Kentucky's January weather than what we've been suffering, errr.. experiencing lately. It was mostly sunny and in the upper 30's. Which felt like the mid 50's in juxtaposition with the freaking, freaky minus ten wind chill of the day before. (Shudder.) I can't make myself imagine what the two Lauries in Minnesota are dealing with. No, it's like imagining being a victim of water boarding, which we can now finally say is torture. Again. Minus twenty? Torture. You betcha.

But enjoying yesterday's (relative) warmth, the three youngsters - Sam I Am, Swede William, and Lindy Loo - joined me after everyone had walked, while I did poo duties in the yard. I'll admit to shirking these duties during the torture time. When it's minus ten, the scooping can wait. The dogs won't stay out long enough at those temperatures to savor poopsicles, so, it can wait. Thus, yesterday's scooping took longer than usual.

And Very Old Dog, toasty in his fleecy housecoat, joined us in the sunshine, too. Lindy Loo ran and ran and ran like ... well, like a whippet. Sammy ran after her, with Swede William in not so hot pursuit. (He tends to wait at the corners and ambush, being the clever fellow he is.) I tried to place myself between the running missiles and Very Old Dog. If a scraped nose had undone me, imagine a collision with a 30 mph whippet. Oh lordy.

Very Old Dog had been an outstanding runner in his youth, in his prime. We had driven from our farm in Maryland all the way to San Diego, California in 1998 for the American Whippet Club National Specialty. And at that National Field Trial, Very Old Dog outran and out-coursed 115 talented whippets to win Best In Field. And he did it with breathtaking ease.

So when the youngsters were careening around the yard yesterday, I saw my Very Old Dog get a look in his eyes. It was a look totally unburdened by the human silliness of worry, regret, wistfulness, caution, responsibility, or self pity. The look in Very Old Dog's eyes said only one thing:


And off he tottered. Full tilt, in both meanings of the word. He scampered after the speeding pocket rockets, only to be directly in their paths after they had reached the end of the yard, and had turned around and continued their game of chase.

My heart.

The projectiles that were the young whippets zipped on either side of him, miraculously avoiding the nightmare pile up. Very Old Dog turned around without tipping over and chased after them. He let out a yip.

Now, that took me back. And it took me to the place where he was at that very moment. He was a quiet dog when he was young. But when the "bunny" (the white plastic bags which acted as the lure at the lure trials) would whip around a pulley, suddenly turning, my quiet dog would "yip" in the joy of the chase. "YIP" (translation: "I'll get you, crafty bunny! You can turn, but I'm gaining on you! Woopeeeeeeeee!") When he yipped in the yard yesterday, I realized he was having the most fun.

He "ran" along with the other three until they wore all the way out. If they had knocked him down, I would have felt like the stupidest excuse for a servant on Earth. But they didn't. And as I carried his protesting self up the three stairs to the breezeway, feeling his enlarged heart pounding for all it was worth, I kissed his scabby nose.

I wish I could fill every minute of his every day left with such joy.

I can't help it. I'm only human.


  1. That is a better spirit!
    Enjoy the sunshine.

  2. This left me with a huge grin and tears in my eyes as well!
    hugs to all, especially Beans!

  3. What a joy to see! There's nothing sweeter than watching whippets race around the yard without a care in the world.

  4. Gather ye poopsickles while ye may
    Old Dog can still go flying
    And the same piles of poop that are there today
    Can be scooped up tomorrow

  5. He was full of pride of what he can still do! Yipeee!

    Stella, who lives in Minnesota and had her first walk in one week, because its been too cold to go out!

  6. Yes, dogs really do live in the present...we should all be so fortunate. What a great day!

  7. When Holly was very ill, she would see Darren taking the others out for a run, and you could see her heart was breaking. So Darren started taking her for a 'run' (realistically, a stagger three doors down the road, from which he'd carry her back) and then take the others. It really wasn't anything, but you could see it made her happy. Running distances with Darren was always one of her favorite things.

  8. Yay! I'm so glad the sweet old guy got a little fun.

    Hugs, Ane.

  9. Good for you, Very Old Dog! You're only as young as you feel!

    Love ya lots,
    Maggie and Mitch

  10. What a triumph for the Very Old Dog. That tells me that dogs really live in the moment. I have tried to comment before with no success... PS I am in the middle of The Lace Reader...what a good story, thanks for the recommend.

  11. Way to go, Very Old Dog!! My very old dogs applaud you! Never let those younguns nor those arthritic old joints stop you from having the time of your life. We humans should take a page out of your book.

  12. Anyone who has ever gone lure coursing has been willing to risk terrible injury to give their dog the best bone-deep fun they can have, even though it lasts only a few minutes and risks so much. That's life itself. Why stop now? :-D


  13. I'm sorry to hear about Very Old Dog's injured nose. But, thankfully, it looks as though he forgot all about it. Nothing like a good run to make you feel better. He must have really enjoyed that. I bet he fell asleep after with a big smile on his face!

    Way to go, old boy!! You still got it. (At least some of it.)

    Love and Koobuss Kisses,

  14. Magnificent! What joy everyone human and whippet must have had.

  15. What a wonderful day for Very Old Dog. Humans are so hopeless most of the time. Ask us, we know.

  16. Martha and the almost veteran P-DoggyJanuary 20, 2009 at 5:17 PM

    YAY VOD!!!!!

  17. That was a wonderful story of Beans. I'm glad you shared because his happiness made me pretty happy. Give him extra hugs from me today.



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