In a few months, my dog Boomer will be twelve years-old. Normally, I would have already made the conversion in my brain. By now, I’d be telling people: “he’s almost twelve,” or, “going on twelve.”
It’s what I’ve done the past twelve years. It’s what I do with myself: round up my age. A month or two before turning 48, I’m already forgetting 47 and thinking, I’m 48.
Only now, with Boomer, I’ve decided he’s still eleven. Even though April of 2010 is around the corner, I’m not rounding up his age. Boomer’s holding at eleven. I’m gonna let eleven marinate, hold its own, stick around, enjoy the view. No rush to add another candle. Boomer’s eleven years-old.
“Is there such a thing as ant years? Buffalo years? Dinosaur years? Cat years?”
I don’t believe in “dog years,” the practice of calculating a canine’s life into some human equivalent. As in: Boomer is eleven multiplied by seven in “human years.”
That’s looking at another animal’s life on human terms. Is there such a thing as ant years? Buffalo years? Dinosaur years? Cat years? Firefly years? No, there’s just time, which passes on its own no matter who’s in the room.
So Boomer is not twelve and he’s definitely not seven times eleven or twelve. Boomer’s the only unconditional love I’ve ever known. For any time during all my time here.
The other day, Boomer and I saw a friends of ours, Ginger. She’s an old lady now. Ginger’s fourteen. She’s still looking good, same color as Boomer, similar breed. Her owner told me Ginger can’t climb stairs anymore, but other than that, she’s doing quite well.
“You see that, Boomer? You hear that?” I say to my dog, trying to inspire and challenge him. “Ginger’s fourteen. You’re only eleven.”
It’s important that he knows we’ve got a long way to go.
Note 2 Self: You need to publish a whole lot more of When In Doubt, Pet the Dog, a periodic column or feature or journal or blog thingy, now and forever at Randy Boyd’s Blocks.