They say it's my birthday!

By Benny Huckleberry as told to Liz Hoffmann | Jul 05, 2019

I’ve been hearing a lot of “happy birthday’s” this week. Yup, my human says “Happy birthday, Benny, you precious boy! I cannot believe that you’re already 6 years old!” I don’t really know what that means exactly, or why she’s saying that now, but I like it. I love the extra attention and It feels like it’s my special day somehow. My sister, Ilsa, has not said anything, nor acted any different, so I’m not sure if she gets it. Same with the cats; they, too, have been silent on the subject.

I don’t know how to feel about being “6,” but my human said that means that I’m about 45 in human years. Wow; that certainly seems noteworthy! That would make Ilsa about 72, and my human’s age somewhere in-between.

What do those age numbers really mean, anyway? Am I supposed to feel different? Do I now need to wag my tail a certain way or walk with more swagger? Frankly, I’ve never even thought about my age, since I just act the way I feel. I wear the same spotted fur coat that I’ve always worn, and while I don’t pee in the house or chew things like I did when I was a puppy, I still act pretty much the same.

It doesn’t seem to be that way for people. I look at pictures from when my human was younger, and she wore saddle shoes and flowered dresses with bows, and then later on bell bottoms and high-heeled boots. And then, a weird haircut, leggings and padded jackets. And now, when she goes to work, she’s in slacks and buttoned-up shirts. But when she’s home and relaxing, it’s pajamas and slippers. I wonder why she doesn’t just wear pajamas all the time? You humans are always talking about trying to relax, to de-stress, and so why not start with always wearing your most comfortable clothes? It’s all very confusing for me, and I’d think it would be confusing for her, too. Just find an outfit you like and stick with it! Why change it based on the number that’s your age or what someone else says?

Those are questions that I’ll probably never get answered. Same with that human expression “act your age.” I’ve heard that, too, and really don’t know what it means! Beyond clothes, are there actions that are associated with each age? And if so, who makes up these rules? Where do humans go to find out what specific actions go with each age? Or, is there a powerful human in charge who has the final say on what is age-appropriate? If someone told me to act my age, I really wouldn’t know what that meant, but I’d assume it wasn’t good. When people say it – they have a bad tone in their voice that I don’t like. I really just want to act like Benny, since that is my most authentic self and what I do best.

I’m at the end of my musings and want to leave you with this. The canine point of view is to not worry about your age or what you’re wearing. Act how you feel, wear what you want, and don’t listen to those naysayers who tell you to be a certain way. They don’t know you as well as you know you! And regardless of age or clothing – you are still the same person inside. As a dog, I focus only on what’s on the inside of a human, since that usually determines their behavior and if they’re kind. It what’s in someone’s heart that matters most to me.

With love, Benny H.

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