We got Spike as a puppy in July 2004 so he is now getting on. In fact he is 12 next year which is a great age for a Labrador. We took him for his annual boosters the other week and the vet said he is doing well for a dog his age, which is great to hear. There are times when you'd think he was still a puppy and people never believe us when we're out walking him and tell them his age.
Part of me feels a little sorry for Spike. Since we set up the business he must be thinking "what next?" He was ok for the first three years. Then we got a kitten. Then we had a baby. And another one. And another one. Then we got a puppy! He's gone from being our only 'baby' to having to share us with three children and a puppy (the cat was sadly run over). And the problem is they aren't quiet and calm children (or puppy). They are noisy, crazy children (and puppy). They like to shout, climb and run. Mess is their friend, calm is their enemy! Luckily we chose a Labrador knowing we wanted children and that they are a friendly and sociable breed. He can often be found in the middle of their heap with his tail wagging and his tongue out.
And now we're looking after dogs too! Young dogs. Dogs who like to play and bounce and jump!
Most of the time Spike will join in. In fact it's actually lovely to see him with a new lease of life. But, you can tell he is getting old. He only tolerates the play for a certain amount of time before he takes himself off to somewhere quiet where he can be alone. Thankfully the puppy is starting to learn when to leave him alone and when he wants to play so he isn't having to tell her off quite so often.
Maybe I shouldn't be feeling sorry for him. If I use the wagging tail as a judge then he is probably the happiest dog out there. One thing is for sure- he has a family who love him and hope he keeps going for as long as possible.