I Love Being The Same Age As My Dog

After eight years, she has finally caught up. When I calculate Honey’s age in dog years,  she is about the same age as I am. And I love it.

Would you?

Honey the golden retriever poses with Pam in front of the Citadel bulldog in Charleston.

If you’re the same age as me, why are you so immature? This picture is ridiculous.

What Age Is Your Dog

We’ve all heard the rough guide that every year of a dog’s life equals about seven years for a human. It works for old dogs. It seems reasonable that a ten-year old dog is comparable to a seventy year old human.

But it doesn’t make sense for puppies. Puppies mature much faster than human babies.

A one year old dog is nearly mature and can, if necessary, take care of herself. Not sure I’d say the same about some humans who are twenty-one years old, much less one.

So how do you calculate your pup’s age in dog years?

Using current wisdom, Honey was comparable to a human fifteen year old when she had her first birthday. By her second year, she had matured another nine years. And now, every year since ages her the equivalent of five human years.

Which would make Honey somewhere in her low to mid 50s. Like me.

Honey the golden retriever at the firehouse in Charleston.

Wait, we’re the same age? Then why do YOU have so much white hair? I still look like a pup.

She has finally caught up. And now she inspires me more than ever.

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up

If I could be anything I wanted when I grow up, it would be Honey.

I’ve known Honey since she was just a few weeks old. And in her life, she has been amazing. And she grows more amazing each day.

Golden retriever puppies in a whelping box.

Honey’s in there somewhere.

Naughty Puppy

Did you know that when I brought Honey home I was hoping to become a puppy raiser for a service dog organization?

I really wanted to volunteer with dogs and thought that raising my own puppy to be a co-volunteer was a great idea. Do you know what I learned raising Honey?

I hate puppies.

Okay, not really. What kind of monster could hate puppies?

Honey the golden retriever puppy.

I don’t know how you could call me challenging. Unless the challenge is to resist my cuteness.

But Honey really challenged me.

One one hand, she settled in quickly and slept through the night within a couple of weeks. She house trained easily and rarely had accidents (a trait that we curse now that we’d like her to eliminate on the boat). Honey came to work with me until she was four months old and even charmed my dog-hating boss.

At the same time, she was a mouthy little land shark.

Honey the golden retriever puppy bites the hand that feeds her.

I remember you never thought I’d stop biting you.

You don’t want to know where I have scars from teeth marks. And very few of my favorite sweaters survived Honey’s puppydom.

Honey helped to redecorate the bathroom two days after we painted it and installed new linoleum. How? By amusing herself with a bottle of hair dye while I was putting groceries away. 

I didn’t realize the puppy tooth indentation was an actual puncture in the bottle until I was coloring my hair and saw the dark dye shooting out the back and staining our wall and floor.

And now you know why I gained a full head of silver hair in my mid-40s.

I once watched in amazement as my ten week old puppy swallowed a dead pigeon whole. And let’s not forget the squeaky toy incident that resulted in weeks of intermittent illness before emergency surgery that cost many times what we paid her breeder to begin with.

If Honey was any indication, I was not cut out to be a puppy raiser. So I volunteered to foster with the local humane society.

Which promptly sent me puppies to foster.

Zoe the foster puppy looks a the camera.

Our last puppy foster before moving onto he boat: Zoe.

Sigh.

Foster Sister

Honey was a very tolerant and patient foster-sister to all the dogs who stayed with us.

In fact, with some puppies, she was a little too tolerant. As one little girl gnawed on her tail without raising a reaction from Honey, I used to ask her, “Are you going to let her get away with that?”

Once it was clear that Honey would tolerate any bad behavior from a puppy I stepped in to set up a puppy time-out. My worst fear was that some puppy would go to their new home and try the same behavior with a less-tolerant dog and pay a big price.

But Honey excelled as a foster-sister when we brought home extremely fearful Cherie.

Honey the Golden Retriever tells foster dog Cherie how to find her forever home.

I am patient and kind to all foster dogs. But Cherie was my favorite.

Cherie would pancake at the sound of a truck on the street. And in a storm, would cower in the basement shaking.

Honey helped her make great strides. If Honey was with her, Cherie tolerated mild storms more easily. Once she even led me back to the house so we could pick up Honey before continuing our walk.

By the time many months had passed and Cherie was adopted, she had learned to sit quietly on the porch with Honey even with a festival happening in the street. And Honey had learned to ride in the bike cart she hated but Cheri thought was fun.

Hound Mix and Golden Retriever

My foster-sister Cherie was afraid of everything. Except for my bike cart. Maybe it’s not so scary after all.

I don’t think Honey would be confident enough to do some things she’s done on the boat without Cheri’s example (oh, and many hours spent with an excellent professional trainer).

Boat Dog

Honey is not a brave dog. She falls on the timid side of the scale.

But living on a boat has helped her confidence blossom.

Honey the golden retriever flies off the boat.

I feel like a super hero.

The dog was once held her water for over 30 hours because she didn’t want to get in the dinghy now rides with her paws up on the seat and nose sniffing the air.

The pup who was afraid of a ramp, even sitting flat on the ground, climbs up steep ramps at low tide with little hesitation.

Honey the golden retriever at the College of Charleston.

I’m hardly even afraid of having my picture taken anymore. Even when a fierce cat is looking over my shoulder.

And if a cute dock master makes kissy sounds at her, she’ll clear any distance to leap off the boat to make friends.

Okay, I’m not so happy about that one. We’ve had to do some training to get past that one. But I’m still proud of how she has conquered her fears.

Honey the golden retriever comes back to Meander in a dinghy.

Faster, faster! Someone is waiting for us. And I think she has cookies!

The Same Age As My Dog

I don’t think I’ve grown nearly as much as Honey has in her short time on earth. But now that we’re the same age, I feel pressure to keep up.

Honey the golden retriever with goat sculptures in Georgetown.

If you admire me so much, why aren’t you posing with the metal goats?

Honey has managed every challenge we’ve put in her way with grace and tolerance. I hope that I can become as confident, kind, and patient as she is. And it should only take me seven times longer.

Happy Birthday, Honey! It’s been an amazing eight years. I treasure every day we have together.

Your Turn: If you calculate your dog’s age in human years, are they older or younger than you? 

 

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  1. I got my dogs as adults that needed new homes so I have missed the joys of puppyhood. Honey has grown into such a great representative of her breed which strangely all seemed to start out white. I did not know this.

  2. What a wonderful story of Honey and synopsis of some highlights of her life! She has come such a very long way!

    Shyla is still younger than me while R is older. Actually, based on their behavior, I would guess the opposite. I think that Shyla is an old soul while R will be an eternal puppy 🙂 I love them both for who they are!

    Happy Birthday, Honey. Your mom’s stories make me love you from afar.

  3. Happy birthday, Honey!

    I also was a land shark as a pup and there were times when they doubted they’d survive my puppyhood. My bipeds can never understand when people say they’d like puppies or kittens to remain that way, as they were very pleased when we grew up. Puppies are cute but dogs are much easier to live with! 🙂

  4. My dog Dixie is right around the same age as me, late 40’s early 50’s, (she’s 7). I feel the same way about puppies. The hair dye was hilarious because it wasn’t my bathroom. 😉 Happy Birthday Honey!!!

  5. Happy birthday beautiful girl 😊 Merlin would be 32 so he’d be a year younger than me.

  6. Happy Birthday, Honey! Mom loves puppies and would have one constantly if she could. You’ve had an amazing life so far, cheers to many more adventurous years ahead.

  7. Happy Birthday, Honey! You are an inspiration to dogs and people everywhere. At 14, Zora is still going strong. I don’t see myself trotting up and down the street everyday when I am in my 70’s, but she does it happily.

  8. Happy birthday, Honey. This brought me to tears. ❤❤ I love it. How exciting for both of you. I turn 31 on Friday and Ryder will be 5 in June. So 4.5×7 makes him a about 31.5. 😁😁 So we pretty dang close right now ❤❤❤ He is the love of my life, and has grown (maybe not as much as Honey) up greatly in the past 3.5 year we have been together. I wish I could slow down time. It doesn’t feel like it has been almost 4 years together. I am not ready for him to get older than me. 🐾🐾 Thank you for sharing and to many more wonderful years to Honey!

  9. *♪ღ♪Happy★Birthday, sweet Honey. ♪ღ♪* For being in your ‘mid-50’s’ you AND your mum look mahvelous! At ’74’ Sam is slightly older than me but much like a Timex watch, takes a licking and keeps on ticking. ⏱ And his ticking seems far better than my aged bones and joints! BOL

  10. Luke is of course still just a young man, but Cricket has surpassed me. Most charts have her in her late 60’s. I just hope I’m still nearly as active as she is when I get to that age. Dogs can really teach us to be young at heart!
    Happy Birthday, Honey!!

  11. My Shadow turns 80 in November, so a few years older and Zari will be 36 in June, so quite a bit younger. The weird thing is Shadow has become younger since we got Zari 2 years ago! We had spent the years since we adopted Shadow at 7 with senior and hospice dogs but when we got our wild child, he was like “bring it on!”. So funny, fascinating and wonderful to watch. Dogs are our best teachers and Honey is the perfect example! Happy Happyday Honey! 🎇🎁💝

  12. HAPPY HAPPY (Belated) BIRTHDAY HONEY!!!

    Callie was very much like you – adored every human who said hello to her – and had the patience of a saint when it came to her sisters (especially Ducky). She was self-confident most of the time. But around the time she turned 7, something happened that made her afraid of thunderstorms. I never could figure it out. But at least she didn’t destroy things in the house (other than perhaps some nights of restful slumber for me) like other dogs I’ve heard about. I miss my girl so much it hurts, especially on her birthday; but you remind me so much of her that just reading your Mom’s blog posts make me smile.

  13. Honey was such a cute little puppy! It’s amazing the size difference between the puppy age and the full grown age.

    My dog is now “older” than me. At ten years old, she still acts like and thinks she is a puppy. My wife’s dog is probably the same age as us. He’s five and we’re in our thirties, so by the seven-year dog year math he’s 35.

  14. I have to agree with you… puppies aren’t my favorite. They are, of course, the most wonderful little things, but they’re such a pain. 🙂 By my calculations, Cooper would be late 40s, so I suppose he’s a decade older than I am, though he’s as immature and energetic as ever… I hope I can keep up with him, despite our age difference! 🙂

  15. She is a fantastic dog, you should be proud of all you have achieved with her. I love that she still inspires you, and she inspires me too – you all do!

  16. Happy Birthday Honey! You gotta keep mom on her toes!! 🙂

    I remember when Silver and I caught up in age. I think that was one of the coolest things and that we had a lot to relate to.

    All of the kids are older than me, including the cats, but you’d never know it. They can definitely kick my butt on any walk or hike. I hope I have as much energy as they do at their age!

  17. What a beautifully written birthday post! Happy Birthday, Honey! My pups are both a little over 6 now, and I’m in my late 30s…which makes them just a little older as me, I think?