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Topper is 112 Today!

May 14, 2022
Topper still looking like a puppy at 112.

My constant companion, Topper is 16 years old today, 112 in dog years! Until a year ago, he was still game for catching a ball, but in the past year he’s really slowed down. When we last visited the Beaver Animal Clinic, the vet told me he’d never seen a temperature as low as Topper’s in a dog that was still alive.

That didn’t fill me with optimism over Topper’s prognosis for a happy, healthy future. But, if I look as good as Topper when I’m 112, I’ll consider it a small victory.

It’s funny that I even have Topper because I am not a dog person. Dog hair in my house kind of drives me nuts.

But we were visiting friends from Montana, who were vacationing in Malibu once, and I’d had one too many margaritas when the subject of puppies came up. Of course, I agreed that we would take a Corgi puppy when their dog had a litter, never thinking this would happen.

It happened, and if you’ve ever seen a Corgi puppy, they are the cutest things ever, way cuter than babies! So, my daughter begged us and we used the puppy as an excuse for a road trip to Montana in our then new 2006 Honda Pilot (which I still drive with 204,000 plus miles on it).

It was a good trip and Topper seemed to like the car, which was good because he’s now crossed the country in it three times.

Topper in his heyday looking very stylish.

In his prime, his name was Topper Banana Lightning Mills because he was so unbelievably fast, he outran several unfortunate squirrels in our yard. He walked miles with me because walking was my therapy during divorce and I ended up getting ownership of him when the dust settled. He has brought me joy and, lately a little more work than I’d like if I don’t get home on time.

He now mostly sleeps and walks in circles a lot. But I try to be patient with him, doing my best not to drag him down the street when his little legs have trouble carrying him. I’m hoping Karma will come back to me when I’m so old I have to be dragged down the street.

God love him, he still seems to get joy from eating the same Pedigree kibble he’s eaten for 16 years and sometimes even runs to the door to go outside now that it’s not zero degrees…probably because his little bladder is about to burst.

I’m not sure how long he’ll last, but I’m going to brush him, give him a bath, feed him, and we’ll have a snuggle on the couch tonight, maybe with a peanut butter treat or two. I’m not 112 yet, but that sounds like the very definition of a great birthday.

Happy Birthday Topper, my sweet dog and constant companion. You’ve shown me that old age may not be so bad, as long as you have someone who loves you, a meal waiting, and a comfy place to sleep.

If you have dog or cat stories to share, please do! I’d love to hear them. And, as always, please take a moment to either share this, or click the follow button at the top right of this page. Thanks for always reading!

  • Reply
    lafriday
    May 16, 2022 at 11:19 pm

    Happy birthday to Topper! He looks so dashing with his scarf. Now that I have a sweet fur ball to love (I could build a new cat every week with all of the cat hair), I know that Topper is great company—even with all of the challenges. <3

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      May 19, 2022 at 4:25 pm

      Yep Linda, you know it. He is sweet, always sitting at my feet, or not far away, or pacing when it’s time to go out. But so sweet, I can never get mad at him. Enjoy Pickles while you can. Time flies!

  • Reply
    Chas Madonio
    May 16, 2022 at 10:58 am

    Great read, Fran! I may be the world’s #1 dog lover. As you know, our family foundation raises thousands of dollars each year for animal welfare in our county. You may recall from the last time you visited us, we had 3 dogs. One by one, they died and the last one, Stanley, lived to be 17 1/2. He died in May of 2019 and we were without a dog for 2 1/2 years – longer than I have ever not had dog. Nancy was so heart broken when Stanley died she just couldn’t bring herself to get another dog. Then back in October, I got a call from the lady who is in charge of the Animal Protective League saying the just got in a stray that I might be interested in. We have always had beagles and bassets but this one was a red tick coon hound. We went to look and when they brought the stray into to room where we were waiting, the dog ran right up to me and put laid his head in my lap. It was love at first sight! We named him Ernie and he immediately became the center of our universe. We are inseparable now. There is nothing like the love and companionship of a dog. Enjoy every day with Topper.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      May 19, 2022 at 4:23 pm

      Awwww Chas. I knew this one would probably connect with you. I’m so happy to hear about Ernie. My best friend’s mom always says, “Dogs know.” As if they know which people they can trust and which they can’t. Ernie clearly knew! I hope you and Nancy are well and about to enjoy a wonderful summer. I simply MUST get over there to visit you. I’ll email you so we can plan something!

  • Reply
    Petrea Burchard
    May 15, 2022 at 3:24 pm

    What a lovely post. I love old dogs. Our pit bull Juice is only 4, but we’ll be there for him as long as he needs us. All that love is worth it.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      May 19, 2022 at 4:20 pm

      He is pretty lovable. It’s just so hard watching your pets age, like a preview of what’s to come. EEEEEK! I’ll hang onto him as long as I can. Juice is lucky to have you!!!

  • Reply
    Burse
    May 14, 2022 at 6:14 pm

    I was just thinking about you. Please give Topper a big hug for me. Met the neighbor who has the 2 Corgis you told me about. He asked about you and sends his best to you and Topper. Hope things are going well for you. Miss your smiling face and of course Topper the “Birthday” boy today. Have a wonderful day!💞🎂🐾

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      May 15, 2022 at 8:28 am

      Awwww, thank you Burse. That is so nice to hear. I am hanging in there, finally able to enjoy spring and a few lovely days with sunshine. What a change from California. Enjoy the sun, they don’t have it everywhere! I hope you are well. I think it’s past due time for a catch up by phone. Thanks for always reading and taking the time to comment. xo

  • Reply
    Emil Mitchell
    May 14, 2022 at 6:01 pm

    Happy 114 Topper, keep at ‘Em Kiddo, the world needs truly faithful family members such as you……Ooooorahhhhh!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      May 15, 2022 at 8:29 am

      Hi Emil, Topper is sleeping on the floor beside me and he heartily agrees. I hope all is well with you! Thanks for always reading and taking the time to comment!

      • Emil Mitchell
        May 15, 2022 at 9:02 am

        Our Tortoise Shell Kitty was with us for 22 years and I understand the closeness of Family, she is dearly missed and never forgotten as Topper will be also. Maybe they will meet up at the Rainbow Bridge one of these days, I believe they would get along famously! A Great Day to you Ms Fran, Keep writing and keep the Faith!

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