Mother Nature cycles through the seasons and in many ways repeats her actions: Hot, cold, wet, dry, etc. Father Time however moves in only one constant direction – forward. When we’re young we have our entire lives ahead of us. As we get older we begin to rationalize our age. Middle age is when we’re in our fifties and sixties, right? If so then I guess we live until we’re 100 or 120? A great example comes from my favorite all time movie “On Golden Pond” with Henry Fonda and Katherine Hepburn. Norman is turning 80 and his wife Ethel tries to convince him that he’s middle aged… Umm yeah.
In many ways it is not different for our pups. Kali is eight and a half years old. Kloe is 19 months old. By the time Kloe was six months old she was the same size as Kali in length, height and weight – 60 pounds. By the time Kloe was nine months she weighed 80 pounds and was head and shoulders taller and longer than her “big” sister Kali. The average life span of a Golden is twelve years. This puts Kali in the latter stages of middle age and entering her “golden” years. Pun intended but still so true.
Kloe, the young whipper-snapper, has her entire life – God willing – ahead of her. She’s young, strong, fast, agile, and – God help us – is still a puppy. Kali has slowed, exhibits a bit of a struggle getting up and down, and is entering the “granny” stage of her life.
So picture Kloe as the young strong footballer on the field with an opponent (Kali) five times her age. If the opponent is lucky and agile enough to get out of the way in time Kloe will pass by and easily score a goal. If opponent Kali is not able to get out of the way she will be bowled over not knowing what hit her. And this is the routine with my girls. Kloe vs. Kali with the rope toy (weapon) of Kloe’s choice as she blind sides Kali slamming the toy into Kali’s face (even if Kali is sleeping) prompting grandma Kali to rise to the occasion and play-fight back.
But here’s the thing. When the battle is over it’s is almost always Kali that ends up with the rope toy in her possession. Under a paw or literally under her body as if to say, “yes Kloe you knocked me around quite a bit with your weight and age advantage but look who ended up with the prize”. Ah, experience does count for something…
There are times when I have to step in and break up the battle. Those times when granny has had enough and locks her eyes on mine as if to say, “help me….”. And then sometimes just when I think Kali has had enough and will retreat she goes to the toy box, grabs a rope toy, and is now the aggressor and re-engages with Kloe on the battle field. The battle field of the living room, family room, kitchen, or wherever my feet are at the time.
So as I consider my girls’ future, I rationalize my Golden Kali’s age and convince myself (for the moment) that she is just “middle aged”. I look at Kloe see the future and I know that one day she too will be the granny and there will be a new whipper-snapper at her heels. A new young buck more agile and stronger who calls out to her and invites her to wrestle and play rough even though Kloe may be more content sleeping, like her big sister Kali was back in the day.
And although Father Time moves only one direction, forward, it won’t stop me – when the time comes – from looking back. Looking back and remembering how my Golden Kali, taught her wee little 80 pound sister Kloe how to be a great big sister.
Stare down over the lodged apple
In spite of the faces they had a ball playing dress up in dad’s flannel shirts
Cooling down at the Apple Orchard Park