A fancy-pants perro like this doesn’t have a father – he has a “sire” – a champion show dog descended from a pair of champion show dogs, who were themselves descended from champion show dogs, who were descended, we believe, from Secretariat. His sire's baby mama, however, was a loveable loser descended from three generations of also-rans, white trash down to her very name, which was (this is true) Harley Davidson.
|April 5, 2010 - Age 11|
We weren’t there for that magic moment, but can only assume that he fell asleep within minutes, snoring as loudly as he is right now – though at a higher, squeakier pitch. You know how when a baby snores it’s adorable, but your grandfather does it, you try to drown it out by cranking up the television? That’s sort of been the trajectory of the past dozen years. Plus, add to that a dozen daily outbursts of manic, uncontrollable licking, which wouldn’t even be cute in a baby, much less your granddad. Fat, lazy, feckless and (increasingly) flatulent. He's really taken to Mexico.
|November 27, 2009 - Age 10|
Dogs age at a much faster rate than people do. (The “one dog year = seven people years” thing isn’t really accurate, but it’s close enough for internet blogging purposes.) When we first took him home at age 18 months, he was the canine equivalent of a ten-year-old - younger than the average Justin Bieber fan. Today he's basically 84, the same age as Pope Benedict XVI. By comparison, we've barely aged at all.
|August 11, 2008 - Age 9|
Does time actually pass more quickly for him than for us? It's hard to tell. Sometimes we'll leave him alone in the office for three or four hours while we got to a meeting, and when we return, there he is, inches from the door, where he's sat unmoving for four hours. Then we realize, from his frantic excitement, that it must have felt like 28 hours to him.
|September 15, 2007 (with brand new kitten) - Age 8|
But if time's moving faster for him, it's not racing ahead of us; he's not living in 2083, where dogs fly around with portable jet-packs and have figured out how the fridge door works.
|August 16, 2006 - Age 7|
Which means that, for him, time's arrow is sailing backwards. As his age increases, his human-equivalent date of birth gets earlier. He was born in 1999, right before the Kosovo War and Columbine. But by the time we met him, his date of birth might as well have been 1990, when Saddam's tanks were rolling in Kuwait.
|March 11, 2005 - Age 6|
By the time he was three he'd lived through the Reagan nightmare and our own awkward high school years. Somewhere between the ages of five and six, when we were in our late 30s, he became older than us. When we relocated here to Burro Hall, it was as if he'd been born in 1957, before Mexican women had ever voted for president. He turned ten having lived through World War II, and today it's as if he were born in 1927 - the year Charles Lindbergh flew nonstop to Europe, where Carlota, Empress of Mexico, lay dying. Here in Mexico, the Cristero War was just beginning.
|June 24, 2004 - Age 5|
Unfortunately, for dogs - at least this one - age doesn't bring wisdom (see previous comment about repeatedly soaking his own feet in urine). It just brings a gradual physical breakdown. It's hard to tell when someone who sleeps 19 hours a day is becoming less active, but as he does less and less walking, his toenails are reaching Howard Hughes proportions, which in turn makes it sound like a chorus line whenever he crosses the tile floor.
|September 10, 2003 - Age 4|
When we do go for walks outside, he fights constantly for the right to go chasing after smells. But his eyesight is failing, and if we don't watch him carefully he's likely to smack into a tree or a lamp post. He also slams on the brakes abruptly and without warning, tensing up as if he's confused about where he is or what he's doing, or scared of something only he can see. We drag him, fighting, past whatever invisible thing it is that spooked him, and he trots along like nothing happened.
|October 2, 2002 (recovering from a cut leg) - Age 3|
At home, his main activity is watching his own muzzle turn to gray. He doesn't do much else, but the place he wants to do it is wherever we happen to be sitting at the moment - not next to where we're sitting, but rather that exact spot, though he's willing to compromise by simply sitting on our lap for hours on end, until our leg falls asleep under the weight of his ten snoring kilograms.
|May 29, 2001 - Age 2|
The sparkle has faded from his eyes, though (mostly because the whites have turned brown with age), and his stare can be as empty as, well, an 84-year-old's. His less-than-perfect control over certain bodily functions has gotten him banished from the bed at night, and relocated to a little sidecar of a doggie bed right next to it. Sometimes in the middle of the night, if he's really quiet, we'll reach down and touch him, just to be sure everything's okay. You never know.
|October 14, 2000 - First day with the new family - Age 18 months|
But a dozen times a day, all we need to do is hint at the prospect of food, or walk through the door after a few minutes' absence, or sit down somewhere, creating a vacant lap for him to crawl onto, and time's arrow comes shooting back towards us. His eyes light up, and he bounces up and down like a two-year-old - a puppy again, if only for a moment, until the effort exhausts him and he lies down to nap.