reggie the dog is thirteen years old today.
depending on who you ask, that's anywhere from 65 to 91 in dog years. (the old model of seven dog years to our one is outdated.) he's been part of the family since he was eight weeks.
as one of his dad's, i'm never so proud as when we're on a walk or at the park and another dog owner asks his age, the reaction usually being some mixture of shock and surprise. "wow!" they say, "he's got so much energy!" or "i would have guessed he was a thirteen months!" not only do we want to be young, we want our pets to be too.
my favorite reaction came last fall, from a young, brown-haired girl, probably around 10 years old. on a walk down 95th toward central park, reggie stopped to sniff around a tree. the girl, passing by in the opposite direction, stopped and asked politely, "may i pet him?"
as she did, he looked up at her with his now somewhat foggy eyes, and his sweet old airedale smile. "how old is he?" she asked.
"almost thirteen" i said, expecting the usual reaction. there was none. she just looked back at reggie and continued scratching his chin.
"he's almost thirteen," i reiterated. "he's an old man."
the girl looked up with the sweetest smile and said, "no. he's a gentleman".