Grumpy while growing old?


Do you recall the 1993 comedy, “Grumpy Old Men?” During a near-sleepless night Sunday, I began visualizing what a reprise of that movie — aptly entitled, “Grumpy Old Dogs” — would look like. In fact, after the night we had, I had a clear vision of who would be cast in the leading role.

For those of you who have senior-aged canines, have you witnessed him or her becoming slightly crankier or crabbier as they age? During the past year, we’ve noticed how our little mutt has become increasingly vocal, and goes from happy-go-lucky during the day, only to morph into Oscar-the-Grouch by nightfall. I guess you could surmise it by saying the fellow gets a little grumpy at times.

Let me preface this by saying CoBe — our easygoing, precocious, gentle, sweet, adorable Yorkshire Terrier — is precious. He is caring, friendly, smart and especially loves people, yet has grown a little particular in his golden years. He recently turned 13 which, according to Google calculations, converts to age 74 in human years.

I’m not saying that growing older is synonymous with increasing crankiness, but with CoBe, such is the case. No, he hasn’t shown any aggression, anxiety, arthritic pain, destructive patterns nor has he exhibited any decline in cognitive behavior. Trust me, his intelligence and memory are still on point. Like I’ve said many times, that rascal possesses an uncanny ability to tell time. Whether it is Daylight Savings or not, he always knows precisely when the clock strikes 10 p.m. It has been — and continues to be — his bedtime for the past 13 years. His precision is so accurate, you literally could set an alarm by his innate time keeping skills. At the designated time each night, CoBe starts that pesky, high-pitched bark until someone escorts him to his black-and-white gingham, furry bed. His yelps will not subside until he is comfortably nestled in his dog bed, surrounded by his personally selected choice of stuffed animals.

That isn’t all. Mr. Particular doesn’t care for overhead lighting — especially when it illuminates past his bedtime. The furball will bark until his demands are met and darkness inside the master bedroom ensues.

On his list of (pet) peeves, the munchkin detests any added noise past 10 p.m. CoBe prefers utter silence when turning in for the night.

Coupled with my being a night owl, the hound and I often have our little pow-wows in the evening. Just last night, that pooch was quite displeased and began barking incessantly. He was disgruntled that the lamp on my nightstand was beaming — while I was reading in bed. He literally left the comfort of his dog bed, he stomped to my side of the room, peered at me in protest, and barked constantly in retribution. If looks could kill... Oh, my. In my defense, I may have mumbled under my breath, something like, “No little dog is going to tell ME when it’s ‘lights out.’”

Ah, the joys and challenges of pet ownership.

Adding to the confrontations, I’ll admit I do typically flick on the TV to catch the local news — oftentimes well past his 10 p.m. curfew. Well, that doesn’t set too well with our doggy, either. It isn’t that the volume is blaring, it isn’t — it’s the fact CoBe is ready for complete solitude. Mr. Ornery even gives me the dreaded side-eye when the television is switched on, followed by his testy, all-out barking tantrum.

On occasion, the rascal will even become so irritated by my late-night shenanigans, he’ll snatch up one of his stuffed animals, which is bigger than he is, and he will militantly march himself to the rec room — at the far end of our home. That is some sight — like a 2-year-old throwing a temper tantrum!

Now I get why folks often coin Yorkers as “Barkies.” They long to communicate unlike any other breed I’ve ever encountered. It is amazing. CoBe is quite the expressive one and a dog many would refer to as “set in his ways.”

That’s OK. He is still a cherished member of our family. As the author of “Marley and Me,” John Grogan, once said, “Such short, little lives our pets have to spend with us .. yet, they spend most of it, waiting for us to come home each day.” Awwww...

In the remake, “Grumpy Old Dogs,” we’d definitely have to emphasize that — despite our evening battles and bedtime preferences — we’ll always be thankful for our slightly grumpy pooch and his absolute, unconditional love. And whether CoBe likes it or not, like Tom Bodett says, we will still leave the light on for him. (Wink wink...)


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