Walking Mari, the little black lab, is a little more challenging these days. It’s not so much that her age has slowed her down. Rather, her age has made her impatient and demanding. Without out Butter around (the more vocal dog of the two), she has to make sure she gets your attention. Being the only one now, she essentially does what she wants, when she wants.
She’s a social dog who likes to wander, so she gets easily distracted and bored sometimes. There are good days and bad – bad days are when I have to carry her home. The good days are when her puppy playfulness comes out; she’s engaged and excited. So, my daily objectives are to make sure she’s playing each day even if it’s just rolling the tennis ball across the room for her to chase (five feet is a marathon for her).
I am sure the neighbors think I’m nuts, running around in circles, hiding behind trees and jumping up and down in the park; but I’m happy being the fool for the little old dog chasing me.
We can’t stave off her growing old, but we can play with her as long as she wants.
* Original variant: The animals do not play because they are young, but they have a youth because they must play.