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Today was a good day for me but, to look at me, you’d never know it. It wasn’t  until L’il Sis came home to fetch The Pig’s (beagle’s) winter coat that I became aware of my state.

“Mom, what the hell happened to you? Did you get mugged?” she asked, alarmed.

Puzzled, I answered, “No, of course I didn’t get mugged. I just returned from a walk. Why do you ask?”

She scanned me up and down and began, “Well, you’ve got mud splotches all over your coat, a little rip in your sleeve, your pant legs are wet and muddy and there are a couple of scratches on your hands. You look like you got thrown into the bushes, assaulted and possibly left for dead! And what’s that smell? It has a whiff of manure about it.”

“Oh, that!” I exclaimed, chuckling. “I had several encounters of the puppy kind. First I went across the street to meet the new puppy. She’s a little brown fuzzball and is SO adorable. I played with her for a while and she’s teething so she nipped my hands a bit. Nothing a bit of antiseptic won’t fix. And the puppy just came to the neighbors from the pig sty where she was born. They washed her but a little bit of pig lingered, I’m afraid.”

As I mentioned the word ‘pig’, The Pig’s ears perked up. I said to her, “I know, Piggy! I smell like a barnyard, your favorite smell, don’t I?”

“Okay,” said L’il Sis, still not certain if she was completely buying my story. I’m getting to the age where all three of my kids watch me like a hawk for signs of frailty, dementia, or just plain bizarre behavior…which, I must say, is reassuring on one level, but awfully confining on the other. L’il Sis needed more evidence before she’d buy my version of what happened.

“Then I went for my walk on the trails. It was muddy after the rain. This delightful Springer Spaniel came running towards me and, true to his name and breed, sprung right up on me, kisses and licks all around. His human tried to pull him off me, but I was having too much fun. When they’d gone, I looked down to see muddy doggie paw prints all over my jacket. Then, further on down the path, a dog and his master were playing catch with a tennis ball. It went into the underbrush in the woods and I scrambled under to get it. It was a little scratchy there…hence the marks on my face. And it’s burr season so I have a few stuck to my sleeve cuffs.”

“Mom, you’re too old to be scrambling around under bushes to retrieve balls!”

“I am not! Besides, it keeps me agile. If I weren’t agile, I wouldn’t have been able to dart out of the way as quickly as I did when that cyclist came barreling out of nowhere, no bell ringing to warn me. I tell you, I was impressive in my moves!”

“OMG, Mom! You’re going to need a keeper soon if you don’t stop doing stuff like this! You manage to turn a simple walk into an agility trial.”

“It wasn’t so bad. The thing I DO hate is when the kids come zooming down the sidewalks on their scooters, full tilt, not giving anybody else room to walk. It would be really undignified for an old lady like myself to be taken out by a scooter…I’d never live that one down.”

“I don’t know, Mom, a mugging might have been easier on you!”

“Well, I’m not going to stop my walks. It’s the highlight of my day — especially seeing the pooches at the slightly illegal, impromptu dog park on the soccer field. The dogs all know me now and, as soon as they see me coming, they all dash towards me, waiting for hugs. I love it! Of course, on a mucky day like this, I get covered in mud splatters…but life is messy, isn’t it? And doggie love is the messiest!”