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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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 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?