Posted by: jility | September 4, 2013

It Sure Beats the Alternative!

This Dog Agility Blog Day’s topic is “Aging.” If you would like to read some positive thoughts on handler and dog aging in the sport, visit the group page

If you are looking for positive aging gems from wise and wonderfully positive writers, then perhaps my blog is not for you. If, however, you enjoy irreverent, politically incorrect, dark thoughts from an aging curmudgeon, read on!

Me to Sir Cussalot:

“This Blogger’s Day topic is on aging. What do you think I should say?”

Sir Cussalot:

“Getting old sucks.”

True that!

Turning thirty didn’t bother me one single bit. It helped that I still got carded and looked about 16.

Forty, however, was a different story.

I HATED turning forty! I cried and felt very sorry for myself. It was one of the worst days of my life.

Then I turned forty-one and wished I were forty again. That was when it hit me:

I might as well appreciate every single birthday because I will not be getting any younger.

It is so true that youth is wasted on the young! If only…. <SIGH>

Agility came into my life when I turned fifty. Sir C was sixty-two. We lament every single day that we hadn’t discovered agility when we were younger. How’s that for unproductive thinking?

Everyone says agility keeps you young. Not sure that is true, but in what other sport could two old farts like Sir C and his crippled old wife step on the same playing field as the world champions? Now that is amazing to me!

Sadly, those world champions are mostly young and can book. It is depressing to watch those youngsters fly around the ring in front of their dogs, showing the way.

AND…by the time we get our dogs trained up so they really know what they are doing, they are at least six or seven years old. By that age, they are slowing down,, sick, injured or worse.

I live for agility. So does Sir C. He is going to be seventy-six years old in a few months. I am going to be sixty-four. We are both vegans. We don’t drink alcohol, soda or coffee. We don’t smoke or use drugs of any kind. I took Advil until I burned a hole in my stomach. Then they put me on Celebrex. It took a few years, but I eventually burned holes in my stomach using that too. I had polio as a kid and now have post polio, a rotten gallbladder and a broken knee from falling on it. I am a mess. But I still manage to go out there and walk my dog around an agility course, sans painkillers.

We feed our dogs organic when possible. All are raw fed except Isabella who is a vegan because she is intolerant of animal protein. I retired her at 6, just short of MACH 2. Josephine ran until she was 12 ½ when her eyesight failed. She was just 4 double Qs short of MACH 8. Sure, we could have dragged both dogs around the ring to finish those titles, but why?  We need to know when it’s the right time to retire our agility dogs so they can long lives, free of arthritis. Their wellbeing is much more important than any titles!  Every year our dogs get at least two months off with no agility at all. That gives them, and us, time to regenerate our minds and bodies. We trial about twenty weekends a year: some years a little more and some years less. It is just right for us. Everyone has to make the right decision for themselves and their dogs.

Sir C had knee surgery two years ago and back surgery last year. He whines all the time that he is so much slower than he used to be; even slower than a few years ago. I have always been slow so that is not an issue for me. Sure, I wish like crazy I could run! My dog would be so much faster if I didn’t have to use distance, and I wouldn’t have to train so damn hard. People who can’t run have to train a LOT more than those who can run! We slowpokes need crazy ass verbals in order to direct our dogs around the courses while we trudge along behind or to the side, and it can take years to perfect verbals!

So there is good news and bad news when it comes to aging in agility. The good news is that it allows old people like us to stay active (sorta). The bad news is that it is a constant reminder that you are old and slow.

So yes, Sir Cussalot is right: getting old does suck!

But it sure beats the alternative!


oldman and dog shutterstock


  1. Loved your blog on aging! Know what you mean about wishing we started agility sooner in life. I spent way too much time with horses. All the blogs on aging are very inspirational and encouraging.
    Keep up the writing and striving to beat back the signs of aging. I’m with you!

  2. You always know how to tell it like it is, while eliciting a chuckle or two or ten — I love your blog although haven’t commented before. I’m vegan as well (was raised vegetarian by a left-wing mother so can take no “credit” for it!) but for some reason never noticed that most excellent collection of recipes on the side bar; will have to give some of those a try.

    Anyway, yes — age on!!

  3. It sure does!!! (heehee, crazy ass verbals…am imagining.)

  4. This one I can relate to. :o) Thanks for the smile today!

  5. This is great, Helen. Your posts always make me smile…which is why I frequently read them more than once. I also like the picture of the old person with a cane petting his chubby dog!

  6. My father-in-law told us many years ago that growing old is not for wimps. I now understand what he meant. Some days it takes more Advil. Some days I breathe easier than others. But none of it keeps us from doing agility!

  7. love your comments, I’m old too, and trying to run 2 fast dogs, between my back, knees, and overall lack of fitness, it’s challenging, and great fun!
    Keep writing, you always brighten my day.

  8. Great post, Helen. As they said back in the day (a time so cool these modern kids still wear knock offs of our clothes), “keep on truckin’!

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