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Over 60 ... And Getting Younger: February 22, 2013

To Dog Or Not To Dog

With apologies to William Shakespeare, I have twisted Hamlet’s speech in light of the current Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. As my wife and I watched the parade of beautiful pooches, we thought lovingly of our Shih Tzu, Ming, who lived with us for 21 years. She is still in our hearts and memories.

Should we go back to being dog-owners, with all the benefits as well as drawbacks? After all, walking a dog in two feet of snow is not a pleasant task for septuagenarians. As we watched the wondrous breeds on television, we were almost swayed. Madison Square Garden was all decked out for the 2,721 dogs competing for the 2013 Westminster Crown.

With loving affection and pride, each dog-owner stepped out on the Garden astro-turf floor to display the best features of their animals. The various breeds’ attributes and qualities were described by the announcer: the Pomeranian, the Dachshund, the Whippet, the Beagle, the German Shepherd, the English and French Bulldog, the Chihuahua, the Pug, the Terrier and the Labrador all captured our hearts as we watched them strut and pose.

Of course, some have expressed concern that all of the dogs on display in the show are purebreds, with not a mutt in sight. People love their mutts just as much as the purebreds, and loving any dog—and receiving their affection in return— is a blessing from above.

When we return home feeling dejected, we can be assured of our canine’s love waiting for us at our door. But the memories of the inconveniences pop up in our minds: Veterinarian bills, grooming expenses and boarding the dog when we are on vacation. Also, the needed midnight strolls can be troublesome. Are we being selfish, or are we being careful in considering all of the responsibilities inherent in dog ownership?

 We are still making up our collective mind; “To Dog or Not to Dog” is still the question.