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Being 80 is a dog and poor knee show, I Shih Tzu not

Bob Morrissey

Recently, this  old-timer had a very bad day because of two senior moments, one silly and one that could have been catastrophic.

First, the silly one: I lost my dog Katie IN MY CONDO.

That’s right: dog poo happens. When I returned home from playing indoor simulator golf, the little one wasn’t where I thought I had left her: on a pillow on the floor next to my Dr. Ho foot massager.

I searched high and low — in both bedrooms, in the small kitchen, in the foyer and even in the bathroom. I looked under the couch in the living room and all I found was an old Gazette sports section, open to a page that carried my Selwyn House School track and field story. A quick read found three typos, but I digress.

Looking for a trail, I kept an eye out for any little puddles of urine on my hardwood floors: All I could find were smudged old stains and two thick rubber heel marks, six feet apart — my one and only attempt at doing the limbo. I kept calling Katie’s name but got no response. Not even a little bark.

By now, I was beside myself which, when you think of it, is impossible. How could I draw her out? They make it look so easy on one of my favourite television shows, The First 48. But I don’t have the backing of a SWAT team; I’m on my own. It’s me against a 10-year-old, five-pound Shih Tzu. I outweigh her by 215 pounds; piece of cake.

OK, so far I’ve tried to lure her out by calling out her name; time to up my game —  with the promise of food. Usually, she comes running when she hears the fridge door open, so I go into the kitchen and do just that three or four times. I wait, expecting to hear the patter of little paws, but there’s only silence. I unwrap a cheese slice, something that also always draws her attention, but not today.

By now, I feel like  a snack, but that’ll have to wait. I close the fridge door and head into the living room where I plan my next move. Strangely enough, Katie loves it when I sing anything by Michael Bublé. Her favourite is “Sway”. So I let loose — but then so does the sourpuss upstairs: stomping on the ceiling with his feet. Can’t say as I blame him.

Time for my next move. I know; I’ll sit on the toilet — often she joins me in the bathroom, lying on the small bath mat outside my shower enclosure. I even take the extra step of singing while I wait. Still no Katie.

Directly opposite the bathroom is my small, cramped laundry room, and it dawns on me that that’s the only room I haven’t checked. Is it possible she’s in there? That’s where I keep my dirty clothes. She wouldn’t last an hour without a mask. And it’s always been off limits.

But there she was, standing, tail wagging, happy to see me.

How did she get there? It must have been when I rushed off to play indoor golf. I had said goodbye to her in the bedroom and then quickly went into the laundry room to put a load in the washing machine.

Usually, she scuttles under the bed, but this time she must have followed me — and I unknowingly closed the door on her.

It was a dumb thing for me to do, but 80-year-olds often do dumb things. And what happened about three hours later was even more perplexing: I tumbled down the stairs leaving the indoor golf facility. My only excuse is that I was in a hurry and wasn’t concentrating. Sound familiar?

Fortunately, I only suffered bruises to my hip, elbow and knee. I say fortunately because, according to Google, every day on average in Canada 13 seniors die and 259 are hospitalized by falls. As an example: In 2018, this resulted in 4,849 deaths, 94,529 hospitalizations, 424,609 visits to the emergency department and 28,310 disabilities.

Not to mention a ton of embarrassment.

Yes, it’s tough getting old. We try to hide it until we can’t, and sometimes we become a danger to ourselves. If we’re lucky, our younger friends sympathize and put up with it. In my case, that younger friend is Dave Peters, my fellow simulator golf warrior.

When I got home from our regular Thursday indoor golf game — and just before I launched my search for Katie — Dave sent me an email about my fall.

It was short and sweet.

All it said was, and I paraphrase: “No more stair-surfing for you.”

Ya got that right.

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Tried to remove my hoodie on a treadmill yesterday and it proved too much for my septuagenarian self. I staggered through a series of stumbles as my phone fell to the rotating carpet and flew off the machine. I arrested my fall with the handrails but was hard put to act cool while fetching the phone and getting back on the apparatus.


Katie, who barred the door?


Who let the Bobs out?

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