It is the whippets' birthday today. They are brothers from the same litter, born in Dorset 13 years ago and, apart from slowing down a bit and feeling the cold rather more than they did, which sometimes means waking up in the night and whining to have a blanket laid over them, they are (touch wood) in pretty good shape. Converting dog years to human is an inexact science. I was always told one dog year equals seven in a human lifespan, which makes my two whippets 91! Not many 91 year olds of my acquaintance can still manage a four-mile walk or the occasional sprint after a rabbit, although I must admit the dogs catch far fewer bunnies than they did.
A more precise measure of dog years in human terms takes into account that dogs are adults by the time they are two, so the ratio is higher when dogs are young and slows down as they age. A six-month-old dog would be five years old if he were a boy and just three months later, he would be nine! Using this system my pair are 77. That makes them a couple of years young than my father, who sometimes looks after them. I tell him they understand each other better now because they are all at the same stage in life.
The whippets have had their fair share of thrills and spills in 13 years. The smaller fawn one broke a knee and the joint has been held together with pins and steel wire for a decade. He also dislocated a hip that could not be put back in place so the ball joint had to be removed. The bigger dog once drank from a puddle containing weed killer and was poisoned. Let's hope 13 is their lucky age.
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