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My Dog's Eleventh Year



It doesn’t seem possible I tell myself –
eleven years already and going on twelve!
I suppose I should have a party – a piece

of prime beef lit with eleven candles. 
But he’d never get close enough to blow them out.
So it will have to be a bowl of organic beef stew.

If I believe what veterinarian charts indicate,
one dog year equals seven human, then Bonzo
is 77 years old, well into the jaws of old age,

and in exceptional health, surpassing even mine!
With all his teeth, acute hearing, no cataracts,
not a gray hair anywhere, and not a tinge 

of dementia, though he does occasionally act 
like a teenager when he sniffs females in estrus.
Otherwise aging has endowed him (unlike humans) 

with a certain contentment of mind and spirit, 
for he will sit sphinx-like on the carpet or 
the bed starring straight ahead
 
as if caught up in some mystical vision.
 And with his floppy ears falling over his head
like a hood, he appears like a medieval monk –
 
without the tonsure, of course, his front paws 
resting one atop the other as if in prayer
or contemplation.

His appetite – often the first sign of an
internal problem, at least with humans, – 
shows no decrease, though a minor back problem,
 
probably arthritis, prevents him from 
sitting up to beg for a snack, like he used to,
the discomfort audible a faint whimp.

And, of course, male that he is, he still 
likes to hump on a bathroom towel or my coat 
or trousers which he pulls off the bed
 
or the back of a chair, the urge, apparently,
too great for his usual chaste behavior – 
a residue, I imagine, of die-hard leftover 

youthful hormones still exciting his libido,
which quite naturally carry over into 
his sleep and dreams (most men can relate
 
to this), his hindquarters simulating 
the act even while he unconsciously vents 
his pleasure in high-pitched staccoto whimps,
 
perhaps reliving some memorable chance
encounter of years passed – except he’s 
neutered so it’s a dry not a wet dream.

Copyright © Maurice Rigoler | Year Posted 2024

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Date: 5/28/2024 2:34:00 PM

You’ve described your dog so vividly, Maurice, that I can picture him perfectly! Beautifully done!

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Book: Shattered Sighs