One of the Family

Our dog, Penny, is going to be turning 2 years old in human years (I am bound by the SPCA to mention ‘in human years’).  I’ve been trying to figure out just how old she is in dog years. Take the formula for converting Celsius into Farenheit divided by how much snow is equivalent to an inch of rain, subtract 3 and I think that’s how we get to it?  According to, for every dog year, add 10.5 human years for the first 2 years.  Then you add 4 years for every dog year after that.  Why in the world dogs age like they live on Jupiter is beyond me. 

The point is, its my dog’s birthday.  For those of you with dogs, you know a party is in order. While I haven’t reached the point of renting out a hall and inviting all the dogs in the neighborhood to a party (I know some of you thought about doing that…you know who you are), I certainly have no qualms about treating my dog like another member of the family.

From the moment I knelt down in front of her and she launched herself on to my shoulders and licked my face like it had been made of hamburger meat, I knew she was our dog.  I took her to her new home on a Monday afternoon.  Not ten minutes in the door and she proceeded to urinate all over my carpet (not unlike my children when they were babies running around the house without a diaper on).  She was excited and nervous and anxious and hungry all in one. 

Since that first night in her new home Penny has gone through two belts, a few pairs of shoes, my Phillies hat, a half-dozen stuffed animals, a chunk of base trim along the wall, a pillow case, two dog beds, three of my tee shirts, and more socks than times Lindsay Lohan has been arrested.  She has been another mouth to feed.  Something else to take on Wellness visits to the doctors.  I’ve cleaned up after her.  Tried to get dog barf stains out of my carpet.  She has barreled over the kids in fits of excitement.  She is 80lbs and wants to be a lap dog (thank god my wife and I were done having kids…because we really are now).  She sheds so much my hardwood floors in the dining room look like we have a barber shop in our house.  She snores louder than I do.  She has terrorized the cat.  She is prone to snatching food out of your hand at the dining room table (it would be the same if you were on a boat with a fish in your hand near the water and a Great White Shark came to the surface).  She has a tail like a furry wrecking ball, sending picture frames, drinks, and flower vases flying.  But, she is always excited to see me (I know she’s a dog but all I did was walk out of the room for 11 seconds).  She lays at the end of our bed and keeps it warm.  I’ve seen her in attack position to protects my kids (sure sometimes she thinks she’s protecting them even from their grandfather…but she means well).  She is fantastic deterrent to anyone coming to my front door with a Bible, vacuum cleaner, or Chicken Barbecue ticket for sale.  If you scratch her in the right spot (right around the middle of her rib cage), her leg will start to kick.  I get along better with her than my wife on most days.  She lays next to me when I watch TV (she’s laying next to me now…and snoring).  When I talk to her, she cocks her head to the side as if to say, “I don’t know what you’re saying but I’m listening.  I really am. Can I have a bone?”.  She likes to put her head in your chest and rub her head around while you scratch behind her ears.  She makes  sort of grunting, sighing, jubilant groaning sound (I make the same one when my wife scratches the back of my neck). Like any best friend worth their fur, she is always right next to me.

No one in my house had to go through labor to get her here (or if we were Hollywood celebrities, no one had to shop for you and buy you in a third world country).   She didn’t have to marry in to the family.  We just bought her and brought her home (come to think of it, we were sort of like Hollywood celebrities). Because we wanted her to be apart of our family. And she is, now and forever.

So Happy 30th? 26th? 14th? 2nd?, I don’t know, I could never figure that dog years thing out, birthday to my Penny.


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