While technically our beagle Cricket is our oldest dog, if you take into consideration her size compared to our golden Sheba (22 pounds compared to 65), she is actually younger in dog years. Cricket will be turning 12 this week and is about 2 months older than Sheba. However, if you consult one of the many age charts for dogs that are available, on average Sheba is older than Cricket by about 10 human years (late 60’s versus late 70’s). So Cricket may be the middle dog after all.
One of the challenges of having multiple pets is dividing your time equally between them. Add into that two dogs that are needy in different ways, and Cricket definitely must be feeling like the middle child lately. Sheba’s cancer and Luke’s “special needs” (reactivity and fearfulness) demand extra attention right now, and I fear that Cricket might feel neglected.
She is a senior too so we need to remember to not just live each day to the fullest with Sheba, but with Cricket too. She has her own health issues, though she is doing quite well – we’ll have more about that on her birthday later this week.
We play ball in the yard every day, and that’s mostly for her exercise needs. Luke and Sheba enjoy it but they don’t chase the ball as much as Cricket does – they prefer to catch it when thrown right to them, and they immediately pass it off to Cricket to bring back to me. That makes Cricket happy, so I don’t think she feels too neglected. But Luke has his at-home nose work classes, and Sheba has been going for more walks along with special trips for swimming. I know Cricket probably would like a little variety in her routines.
This last week I made sure to take her out for a special walk, and we explored our woods a little bit. I’m going to try to do that more; I used to walk her more before we moved. Unfortunately, our new neighborhood has two dogs that run loose, and Cricket is leash reactive. I do not want to encounter two loose dogs when I am alone with Cricket. I’ve tried to be observant though, and have only seen those dogs in afternoon or evening, so I feel safer walking Cricket in the morning. Hopefully by next year we’ll have more trails in our woods and those dogs won’t find their way there (more about them in another post).
Cricket was super excited when I got her harness out; she still will hardly stand still so I can get it on her! She has always been a power walker; but she has at least learned to stop and sniff things a little bit (she is the total opposite of what her late beagle brother Kobi was). I also plan to do some of the nose work with her. I don’t expect her to learn as quickly as Luke does; Cricket is a very independent and stubborn beagle, and doesn’t usually like to work for her treats! But we’ll give it a try and see how she does.
So I’m working hard to be sure she never gets to realize that she actually might be that middle child! Since her birthday is this week, the blog will be a bit more focused on our little beagle as well, so she’ll get some extra time in the limelight. Judging by the comments though, I do think she ended up being the unexpected star of the video we shared on Friday! If you haven’t seen it, you can click here to do so; Cricket is pretty funny in it.
Meanwhile, stay tuned this week for more about our birthday girl!