This is a picture of a spry and fit senior. This is Jasmine.
So, a couple of weeks ago I took Jasmine with me for a five-mile hike. Didn’t really think about it. I just knew she’d be compatible with the dogs of the friend I was going with and that she’d be well-behaved on the hike. I never really stopped to think about if she was fit enough or if she’d get worn out. She’s incredibly fit and I knew that the distance, even with the added “dog miles” wouldn’t be a problem for her.
See, I’m convinced that Jasmine is a genetic marvel. Sure. I feed her good food, she gets decent exercise and she has three younger tribe members to keep her on her toes. I sincerely believe those factors have contributed to her longevity and spryness. But I also know dogs her age that are treated similarly and haven’t quite hit the genetic lottery she apparently has. Perhaps there is something to be said for mutts and genetic diversity.*
The day after that hike, while Youke was willing to lollygag about and nap, Jasmine was pestering me to do something. When that didn’t work, she started turning somersaults on her dog bed in my office. Because that’s what Jasmine does.
Interesting factoid: Jasmine started fetching balls at the age of nine. This was not due to a lack of attempt on my part.She still only does it if she feels like it, but she’s made it pretty evident that she knows exactly what is involved and the idea of constantly running back and forth to gather and bring back a rubbery sphere is plain stupid. And people think Border Collies are brilliant.
I’ve always referred to Jasmine as my state worker. I can say this because I used to be a state worker a long time ago. Jasmine is in it for the excellent benefits and the pension only. For Jasmine, the pay was just never high enough to warrant too much effort.
When I retired Jasmine from agility, I was a bit worried about the next stage. Although I’d long ago stopped taking her to lessons (as a state worker she saw no reason to stick around and learn anymore about a job she’d already been doing and clearly wasn’t going to be paid highly enough to do), we still did agility on a pretty regular basis. Although a lot of people mentioned doing Nosework with her, I know Jasmine and I know how easily bored she gets. The downside to being brilliant I suppose with the work ethic of a state worker.
So being the fun-loving CEO that allows the president (Camm) to take on most of the actual running of things and supervising hikes has been Jasmine’s “job” of late.
This week, I discovered I may have found her true calling.
I’m taking care of two older dogs that are quite the stately gentlemen. Actually one is a total goofball, but age gives him the illusion of having some eminence. They are total sweethearts. However, age and size – both are large mixed breed dogs – are taking a toll. When both boys feel well and I take them for walks, I feel like a small boat in the wake of two stately ocean liners cruising along in a calm sea. The goofy guy is still pretty spry, limited only by the fact that he’s getting up there in years. The older dog has great days, good days and days where he really doesn’t want to do much of anything except piddle a bit and then lay down.
Both had met Jasmine several months ago when I was caring for them and were immediately smitten. Despite being seen as the Ann-Margret of the senior set, Jasmine was overwhelmed by their attention. Probably because both guys tower over her and outweigh her by a good 50 pounds or more.
Nevertheless, despite Jasmine asking me to place her back into my car where she could recover from the unwanted attentions of two old men with major crushes, I made note of the effect she had on both and how perky they had become. In fact, during that particular set of visits, the “younger” old guy, who makes me think of Walter Matthau, kept looking for her.
“Hey, where’s that hot sexy little redhead you had with you last night? I’d sure like to see her again!”
So this week I noticed that the older old guy, let’s refer to him as Jack Lemmon, had really slowed down. He wasn’t that interested in eating, despite the addition of some stinky wet food and while I think he wanted to go out for walks, he could barely lift himself enough to go out into his yard to piddle.
The next morning, I brought Jasmine with me.
Apparently, Jasmine knew she had a job to do.
She jumped out of the car to come greet Walter, the younger older guy. Being the very polite gentlemen that he is, he greeted her with delicacy and tenderness. seemingly knowing his size. She clearly indicated she was all business, but he was allowed to gingerly sniff her. The funniest part was when he would accidentally walk into her and feign looking at something else, like he knew he could possibly offend her by being too direct.
“You are but a delicate tender flower my dear. I will attempt to only sniff your enticing fiery redheaded aroma that makes me slightly dizzy. It is precisely that dizziness that makes me bump into you. Please do not be offended magnificent lady creature!”
As if that part wasn’t amusing enough, the instantaneous and miraculous recovery of Jack, the older old guy was even more droll. He was laying on the garage floor when I came in with Jasmine. Upon sighting her, his ears pricked forward and he struggled to his feet.
“Madam! I’m afraid you’ve caught me slightly incapacitated! I was not expecting company, much less company from such a fine specimen as yourself!”
Suddenly, he was strolling in his yard, following Jasmine as she sniffed all the old man pee spots. Instead of a dribble, Jack found the strength for a full on spurt. He also discovered that he was somewhat hungry after all. It does take an appetite to pursue something as spicy as Jasmine.
Jasmine seemed quite pleased with the response her mere presence had elicited. I realized that I was now dealing with a sexy senior. Hence, Ann-Margret.
This evening when I visited the two old guys, I purposefully brought Jasmine with me. She nonchalantly greeted the two senior guys and casually allowed the faintest lingering sniffs.
“Ah redheaded fiery beauty! You grace us with your presence again. May we interest you in peeing on a few things?”
I’m pretty sure Jasmine would be the one at the retirement home causing a ruckus and leading the other old ladies to gossip loudly and disapprovingly over her wanton ways and revealing outfits. Meanwhile, the old men would be drooling and more than a few dentures would fall out from gaping mouths.
The funny thing is that seeing Jasmine with these two I have now realized that she morphed from a ridiculously goofy one-year old loose-bodied puppy, into an athletic punchy tomboy, then into a beautiful and even elegant queen, to now that spry, sexy senior that wears skorts and lycra outfits and puts the 20-somethings to shame.
But one that still does somersaults to amuse herself, because some things never change.
* According to a DNA test I did several years ago, Jasmine is half German Shepherd and half Catahoula Leopard Dog. I believe the former. Not quite convinced on the latter. I still tell people she’s a cattle dog mix, but I used to register her for agility trials as a Yakima Mutt. I think that last bit speaks to her true heritage.
**Walter and Jack’s owner knows of Ann-Margret’s visits and heartily approves. She also thinks it’s quite funny.