Dog Years

I realize that I don’t really talk about my pets much online. We’ve had a few as a family, from cats to mice(ewww), to fish and dogs, but there’s one who’s been with us longer than any other and that’s our dog, Jenna. She’s been a part of our family since 1996, just before Cody’s second birthday. He tugged at her tail and tried to ride her like a pony and through it all she’s remained the absolute best dog a family could ask for. She was a shelter dog and her given name was “Annie”, but I didn’t like it all that much, plus Cody was a little addicted to watching the movie Balto over and over at the time, so it just seemed fitting that we would name her after Balto’s love interest in the film, Jenna. Oh, if you haven’t watched Balto, you should. It’s a wonderful, wonderful story…..and a true one at that.

In recent months we’ve been reminded of the reality of Jenna’s age and the fact that we simply outlive our pets, in most cases. It’s been painful at times, but also an awakening of how lucky we are and how precious every moment, day, month that we still have her here with us is and that we need to treasure every bit of it. I’ve been guilty of taking her for granted since she’s such a fixture in our family. I’ve often said she was the only way I got a daughter since the kids I gave birth to are both boys. Probably more lucky for me since I hear human daughters can be a little bit on the moody side in the teenage years.

I’m a bit of a numbers person. I’ve always loved math and connecting numbers, so it seemed natural that my geeky self would start running Jenna’s dog years through my head recently. You know that math, right? For every human year you multiply it by 7 to get a dog year. Really though, they say that it increases the older the dog gets because they age more rapidly, but I’ll just stick to that 7  number for the sake of keeping things less confusing. For some reason I decided to not only figure out Jenna’s doggy age, but also connect it with that of our family. A few weeks ago she had a birthday and turned 16 years old, or 112 in dog years, making her older than all human family members combined. We slide in at just 111 years combined. Jenna sort of deserves a throne or something. Seriously, if I met a person who was 112 years old, I’d think they must have lived an amazing and healthy life, with many stories to tell. I look at Jenna and I see miles she’s put on her petite frame and the toll that aging is probably taking on all of her organs. Sometimes I cry as I dread that day that I know will come when me have to say goodbye to her and then I love her a little harder, give her more attention and treat her more delicately. I hope she feels how much I cherish her in our family. Mostly, though, I hope that the stories she would tell of being in our family are good ones, filled with a lot of love and plenty of yummy treats.


  1. Oh Cathy, I feel your pain. I’m in a very similar situation. We have a chocolate lab who just turned 13. She’s been with me through everything over the past 13 years. We just found out she’s sick and I’m heartbroken. I can’t imagine life without her. It’s going to be a rough few months.
    Lori Popkewitz Alper recently posted..Why There Were Television Cameras in My KitchenMy Profile

    • Oh Lori, I’m so sorry so hear about your girl. Give her a whole bunch of love and a scratch and maybe an extra *treat* from me, please. This whole being the parent to a pet is such tough stuff.

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  1. […] dog sitter to bring it in every day. She has enough to worry about, especially since our dear girl Jenna is now 17 years old and has some “special” […]

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