“Happy 13th Birthday Flossie!”
That’s what I heard shouted at me this morning when I stumbled to my Paws. Do they think I am deaf? Well, come to think of it, the house has seemed a lot quieter these past few months and I get the distinct impression the Boss has been calling me for some time when she finally raises her voice loud enough for me to hear. So, yes, I must admit, deafness seems to be the reason.
I am not quite sure why they are all so excited at me reaching the grand old age of 13 but I can tell they are by the number of cuddles and oohs and ahs I am attracting today.
Even the Boss’s friend, who we meet on our rather wet, morning walk, bends down to give me a special hug when she hears the news.
We have been on a number of long walks of late. The spring in my step returns now and then and off we go. I still find the stile a real challenge so we don’t often go that way. (Personally I think the Boss is getting a bit old for climbing over stiles but hey, you can’t tell her). The other morning, we found ourselves treading the long held favourite path through the fields and trees, arriving at the stile in due course. The Boss paused and looked at me.
“You can do it,” I willed her. I watched as she heaved one leg over the top bar and clambered over, landing on the other side, from where she surveyed me, staring through the bars through which I used to so nimbly jump. Alas, my front legs are willing, the back legs, not so much. Half in half out, under the encouraging smile of the Boss, I drew on my inner strength and got one of those bloomin’ stubborn back legs to lift and … land on the bar. The Boss looked anxious, I’ll give her that but before she could assist or attempt to push me back, I had managed to lever myself over the bar, my other back leg following, inelegantly.
The Boss muttered something but since I am deaf (I admit it) I don’t know what. I did notice that we haven’t gone the way of the stile for a while. I know why of course, she has finally realised that she is finding it difficult to do the climbing bit. I am sure that is the reason, though she would say it is because I am old.
Well, as it is my birthday, I thought I’d get lots of special treats but apparently, my digestion wouldn’t cope with too much so I have to make do with the odd biscuit or piece of carrot. I am not complaining, from what I hear, no one expected me to be around for this particular birthday. Why, is beyond me, I mean, where would I go? I know the Boss pops three little white pills in my dinner every other day and I’ve seen the vet more times than I care to count this past year but look at me…I am 13 today and I fully intend to have the best year ever!
In the 1970s, the life expectancy for a Golden Retriever was 16/17 years. Today it has dropped to 10-12 years due to generations of breeding and genetic issues being passed down – shocking! Flossie has been diagnosed with skin cancer but as she is so happy and full of beans, we decided against any invasive treatment and she has been on steroids for the past nine months or so having initially been given a much shorter life expectancy. So, every day is a bonus for us and Floss is doing well. What more can one ask?