Our little girl turns 12 years old today! At the same time I want to celebrate how happy, active, and healthy she is at 12, it scares me just a little bit. Her late beagle brother Kobi lived to be 13, and he was active and healthy up until he turned – you guessed it, 12. That’s when he really started to show his age. Cricket is smaller and more active than Kobi ever was; I hope that is to her advantage.
Of course, they are totally different dogs. Cricket was bred to be a hunting dog, and Kobi was bred to be a show dog – which might account for the differences in their temperaments. Kobi was just as laid back as Cricket is intense. We found Cricket after losing our Lab mix, Maggie, Kobi’s best friend. We wanted to find a beagle for him, but it was tough! We searched Petfinder, rescues, and shelters to no avail. We finally asked an old friend who had hunting dogs and he knew of a breeder.
It was lucky for us: the breeder he told us about had a new litter of 3 puppies and only 2 were spoken for. He knew we wanted her as a family member and not for hunting so he gave us a discount. Kobi was desperately lonely without Maggie and we needed a dog fast; though we still had to wait a few weeks. Since Cricket was the only one available, we didn’t have any choices to make. The choice had been made for us and it was perfect. Kobi loved her and we loved her, and soon after, the two golden retrievers joined the family and Cricket loved ruling them. She is still the boss to this day.
Cricket has always been extremely active and throws herself into what she loves with an almost obsessive intensity. She is a fetching beagle and loves playing ball more than anything. She’ll try her paws at discs occasionally but it is balls that she loves best. These days Cricket prefers Planet Dog balls* and West Paw Zogoflex Air* balls. She used to prefer the harder Zogoflex Jive*, but maybe the softer balls feel better on her mouth now that she’s older.
She sleeps in the evenings just as hard as she plays; but that’s really the only way she shows her age. Cricket was diagnosed with arthritis in both of her back knees (as well as a ligament and meniscus tear) around the time of her birthday last year after developing a limp. Our vet thought the arthritis was pretty severe and immediately put her on joint supplements and pain relievers. After a period of rest she was back to her normal activities.
She hasn’t slowed down since! We even weaned her off the Rimadyl back in the spring, after finding out my sister had done the same for her arthritic beagle with good results. We had always only given Sheba her pain relievers on an “as needed” basis and that worked well for her up until recently. I wanted Cricket to also have that availability as she ages more; somewhere to go with medication, not already at the top of her dosage. Plus she doesn’t have to go for the periodic blood tests.
I fully expected that when summer got here and she started jumping in and out of the pool, we’d be getting the Rimadyl back out, but we hadn’t had to until this week (she’s not limping but was moving just a little slow). At her last wellness vet visit, the doctor also told us that her eyesight was waning. Well, we never would have guessed that on our own, because we haven’t seen any sign of that either.
What do I love most about our birthday girl, other than that intensity and tenacity? Her tail never stops wagging. On weekend mornings, she still brings a toy to bed to show me when I wake up. She gives endless kisses and snuggles when she’s in the mood (and can get past her jealous brother).
She has her issues – she barks like a fool whenever we get home from work, even though she knows it’s us, and she winds her brother Luke up to the max. She loses her cool at times and has to be separated from her siblings until she settles down (she’s actually getting better about that lately though). She is cat-like in her ability to get into my flower garden even though we have it blocked like Fort Knox! Trying to outsmart her there is an ongoing challenge.
We wouldn’t have it any other way. She is fun and loving, and enriches our lives every day.
Happy Birthday Cricket – we love you so much!
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