Saturday, October 16, 2021

New Tricks, Old Dogs



Tony Wakefield-Jones

We interrupt this advice column for a special message on the importance of aging—or rather, the lack of importance of it.

First, as an advice columnist, I am all too aware of the significance of keeping the home fires burning.

An odd proverb, to say the least, as I simply can’t see a benefit to a house fire of any kind. But I digress…

For many years now I have known, when it comes to managing psychological trauma, there’s no place like home.

My daddies, both the “Tall” and the “Short,” are turning 50 this year—and oh how they have whined about it.

Using the conventional dog-to-human-age conversion (actual dog age x 7 = human equivalent years), as a 10-yearold dog myself; I’m the equivalent of 70 in human years. And these two buffoons are worried about 50?

Last February, Tall Daddy hit the big 5-0 and the steamy dog pile really hit the fan. He moped. He whined. He refused a celebration until our friend, Kathleen Gravatt, force-fed him chocolate cake.

Of course, the irony is that a woman named “Kat” was the one who accomplished the impossible. Certainly provides food for thought.

And now, on September 13th, my Short Daddy finds himself face-to-face with the mid-century mark. However, being the “thinker” (or I should say “over thinker”) of the family, Short Daddy already has some very interesting theories about how birthdays operate.

You see, he was born at 11:02 PM central time; however, we all know that Florida is in the Eastern Time zone. Allowing for the one-hour time difference, the anniversary of his birth actually takes place at 12:02 AM on September 14th—one day later.

So get this—Short Daddy has spent years trying to convince us we have to celebrate his birth over the course of two consecutive days with “two” as a recurring theme: two parties, two cakes, two sets of presents, etc.

Too much!

My thoughts? Is he really going to want to extend his seemingly horrific 50th birthday over two full days? Plus, considering you humans seem to love to use funky mathematical

PHOTO BY PETER BEREC Tall Daddy (50), Tony Wakefield-Jones (“70”), and Short Daddy (50). Short Daddy’s brown hair by Shari Brousseau.

PHOTO BY PETER BEREC Tall Daddy (50), Tony Wakefield-Jones (“70”), and Short Daddy (50). Short Daddy’s brown hair by Shari Brousseau.

algorithms for age conversions (actual dog age x 7 = human equivalent years), using his time-zonebased theory of two birthdays each year, isn’t he really turning 100?

Oh, that’s gonna hurt!

I am a dog, so age simply doesn’t bother me. After all, I have a daily routine that suits me just fine: eat, sleep, poop, answer questions from ostensibly clueless humans that will be put into print by Coastal Breeze News, and repeat. It’s a pretty great life. And assuming I get in my required 20 hours of sleep a day, I’m fairly robust for the remaining four.

Sure, I have a “bucket list” too, but my bucket is filled with prime rib and not some ridiculous list of wanna-do missions like skydiving, Mediterranean cruises, and meeting Judge Judy.

Plus, what’s up with this thing you humans call Botox? I don’t know a single self-respecting dog who would consider taking such a non-essential step. For example, can you just imagine what a Bloodhound would look like after Botox injections? Yes—you’re right—Bruce Jenner.

Perhaps it’s just that we quad-peds are tougher than you bi-peds. Take a look at me: as a resident of Jurassic Park (aka Fiddler’s Creek) my daily walk has the potential to put me face-to-face with alligators, snakes, wild pigs, bears, lizards and even undomesticated golfers. Do I scream like a little girl and run away when faced with a wayward armadillo? No, I do not. I at least attempt a congenial butt sniff and a wag of the tail before being yanked by the neck to “safety” on the other side of the street.

But no one can say I run away in fear.

I guess what I’m saying is: perhaps you can’t teach old dogs new tricks. But, then again, you wouldn’t have to if the “old dogs” in question would accept the inevitable, quit complaining, lose their fear, and howl at the moon occasionally.

Tony Wakefield-Jones is a 10-year-old psychologically gifted Airedale. He can be found on Facebook at wakefieldjones. A member of a family of creative minds, his Short Daddy, writer Randall Kenneth Jones, has humorously chronicled his own personal and professional foibles on


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