Jenny Lynn is showing her age. And not only in her fur color change but in the way she wlaks, trots and gets up.
At 12 years old that can be expected though I am reluctant to go mentally accept her unsteadiness and gimpy stride. I cringe nearly every day as I watch her stretch and get up off her dog bed.
She is now semi-retired. Jenny Lynn won't be on any all-day dove hunts nor do I expect that she'll spend time this fall in a cold, damp goose blind.
Oh, I'll take her along for the early goose season. I also will gather her up for a swim, though even here I will have to be careful.
Last Saturday my wife Bev and I took Jenny Lynn and our other Labrador retriever, Berry, to Lake Metroparks' Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park and its east-end dog beach.
Berry ripped through the waves after a tossed training dummy. Poor Jenny had a difficult time swimming and wading about the shallow water.
Bev even thought she'd have to make a rescue at one point, though I knew Jenny Lynn could handle the mild surf. The thing is, she won't for long.
Jenny Lynn is tiring fast and as often as not prefers to rest on her dog bed. Of course she deserves the opportunity to kick up her legs and recline. Jenny's done well over these past years and has proven to be a reliable companion and good hunting buddy.
But watching her age has made me feel older too. I am fast approaching the 60-year-old mark. The way I figure it I have one more puppy left in me.
I just hope she'll (and it will be another female Lab) be half the retriever and hunting buddy that Jenny's been these all-too-few years.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn