Monday, July 27, 2009

Turning 60 (That's nearly 8 in dog years)

This past Wednesday, I had my 60th birthday. The experience of turning 60 has hit me like a rock and I'm not sure why. Intimations of mortality? Of course -- but I've always had those, and my family is a total toss-up with regard to longevity. My father's side of the family is not particularly long-lived -- my dad passed away at 64, my grandfather at 65, my grandmother at 56, my dad's sister at 56 or so, his brother at a little past 70 -- my grandmother's sister, on the other hand, lived 96 years. My mother's side? My mom passed away at 77, while I think her parents were in their 70s or 80s when they died, though I don't remember for certain.

There is so much I want to do -- write novels, rescue animals, start a sanctuary for geriatric and problem animals, get out of debt!, finish unpacking from our last move 5 years ago! I keep feeling old -- and I shouldn't be. People my age are running for president and are considered young for the job!

In dog years, I would be nearly 8 years old -- the probable age of my Plott Hound Eve, for whom this blog is named. Eve carries her age with grace and at least some dignity (she IS a hound, after all) For anyone who has never seen a Plott Hound, here is a picture of her:

This is the picture that is on her dogster page, too, and is one of my favorites because it shows her noble profile! When we first found her, she did not have nearly as much grey on her face, although she did have a little around her mouth and on her feet -- which is not uncommon in the breed.

I love her brindle coat, which is, I think, the doggy equivalent of tortoiseshell in cats, though torties are usually exclusively females while brindle dogs occur in both genders. I love the color because it reminds me of sunlight shining through the woods in autumn.

My favorite dog person, Cesar Millan, says that dogs live in the moment, that they do not fear death, nor do they worry about what the future will hold. This is a lesson I have yet to learn, but one which I think I need in order to stop feeling old and useless. I don't think Eve feels either old or useless!

She is needed to let us know whenever anyone "suspicious" appears outside our house -- or if the neighbors come out of their house. Sometimes she quiets down if I say "Thank you," and sometimes she keeps barking! (or baying -- there is a difference)

She provides an essential anchor for our "pack" of cats -- making sure that the older two cats (Mu Mu and Per Per) come in when they go outside with her, taking care of her "puppy," (YinYang, who we found as an abandoned kitten in the lot next door and who Eve immediately decided was her "puppy!"), and trying not to scare the semi-feral Pooka and Sprite who live under the furniture in our house and come out late at night to be petted by my sister and me.

I should take my example from Eve, who sleeps when she is sleepy, plays when she feels like playing, and doesn't care if she is getting older. After all, she's getting wiser -- and I should be, too!