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  • Nikki Rockwell

“Kids these days…” Older dog Greetings

Updated: Apr 23, 2020

Intergenerational CATtiness (see what I did there?) has been experiencing a renaissance since the advent of social media. “Ok Boomer” has become a thing, though it is sometimes used in inappropriate settings. Like a kid “Ok Boomered” Carolyn for saying something he deemed to be old. (Neither of us can remember what was said, a hazard of our “oldness”. But suffice to say, Carolyn is most certainly not a boomer. She is SO millennial that I have to clap in her direction for her to realize that I am speaking to her when she is looking at her phone). This is not to say that there isn’t a time and a place for an “OK Boomer”. It is basically the verbal, online equivalent to rolling your eyes during a “back in my day” story, and sometimes it feels really good to drop that bomb on someone. And the recent blaming of the millennials for going to Spring Break in Florida during a pandemic. I mean, we are not Spring Breakers anymore, my friends. We have already moved on to potlucks and game nights as our big nights out! Be jealous!

But much like how the millennials have moved to less crazy, partying habits, my pups that I have been walking for almost 8 years now are also moving to more sensible dog greetings. They no longer see other dogs and immediately jump, chew, and bark because of their excitement. Their interactions are more, shall I say, dognified. (Whoo, my pun game is strong. That too, comes with “oldness” )

When puppies see one another, they begin to coil up like a spring, getting ready to pounce on one another, allowing for the mobility of flying paws and tiny, sharp teeth to play a part in interaction. Sometimes they use what I call “Doggie civil disobedience” to get their pawrents to stop walking. This involves stopping short, flattening themselves on the pavement like a doggie pancake, and increasing their weight by tenfold so they can buy enough time to allow for the other dog to catch up for an epic greeting. When they do finally meet, they jump at one another like two hungry, hungry hippos, often leaving their pawrents running in circles and colliding into one another in an effort to maintain safe leash control. It is always the best greeting of their lives Every. Single. Time. When older dogs meet younger dogs, the older dogs sense the impending paw of doom coming to their face but they do sometimes still want to say “Hello.” They usually do a polite sniff, a calm wave of their tail and then skiddaddle! They are too old for such tomfoolery!

But what happens when older dogs see one another? Much like the head nod of their human counterparts, they approach every greeting as a sign of respect and belonging. They know that the creature that they are about to touch noses with has been there, done that and will share their knowledge of said experiences, not through pawing or chewing, but through soft whimpers and light sneezes. (I was told just that sneezing is a way that a dog tells everyone that they are not going to kill them. Whether this is true or not means nothing to me, so don’t try to tell me otherwise. I do not want to live in a world where this is not true.)

When they finally meet, they wiggle, their faces relax and they have a look of bliss knowing that they can talk to one another about which restrictive diet they are now on. “Well now my pawrents originally had me on a glooten free fud because I’s gettin the itchins, but they have since read that it might cause the ole’ ticker to do a hurt so now I’s on a senior fud and my poop is doin a firm” “Oh, i has firm poop too! My mum got me steps cuz I’s do a splat when hops on snuggle spot” After they exchange their daily thoughts and advice, they both pee on pee, a time-honored doggie tradition, (careful to avoid peeing on themselves because they can’t lift their legs like they used to), and head home to take a nap, dreaming of the next tush to sniff and their glory days of squirrel chasing.

We do not deserve old dogs!

My senior pup buddy, Bailey!

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