When I get very old, if I’m lucky enough to reach that milestone, I will give up my struggles to be perfect. I will eat brownies for breakfast and have ice cream for dinner, if that’s what I really want.
I’ll stop trying to be thinner or stronger or smarter or more accomplished.
When I get very old, I’ll lounge around all day in my pajamas and read trashy novels while eating a bag of chips.
You might wonder what has inspired me to accept the blessings of very old age.
Well, it was the Wolf King that did it.
I’ll let him explain in his own words.
Only a week ago, I still needed my leash.
As soon as I woke up today, I knew that something unusual was going on. Man Who Walks Me was climbing up and down the stairs, bringing chairs and tables out into the yard. Woman Who Feeds Me was rushing around, cleaning the kitchen.
Puppy Lennie was barking and squeaking and being a general pain in the rear, as usual, even when I woofed at him to cut it out. By mid-morning, I had a headache.
I also had an idea.
I have seen this kind of rushing about many times in my long years. It always means that a lot of humans will be at our house, talking loudly and eating for hours. It always means dropped cheese and other delicious delicacies.
I was excited. At my age I show my enthusiasm by plodding around the living room and slowly laying myself in whatever spot is most likely to be in the way of the bustling humans.
I am the Wolf King. I will not be overlooked.
Today the bustling and preparing went on for quite a while, and slowly more humans arrived. I knew most of the early visitors. There was the Young Woman Who Used To Hold Me, and her newest tiny poopy human. There was the Young Man Who Used To Chase Me and his friends who always call me “Good Boy.”
I greeted them with some royal woofing, then flopped in front of their feet.
After some time, all of the humans went outside of the house and onto the lawn. Puppy Lennie still shrieked in his ear-spitting way, but he had been banished into the back fence. I remained alone inside.
I woofed once. Softly.
I whined, a little bit louder.
Why wasn’t I outside, where the cheese would be? I wanted to be with my humans, who regularly drop food, and whom I love. But I would not beg.
Settling my chin on my royal paws, I commenced moaning pitifully with each breath.
Finally, Woman Who Feeds Me came into the house. She called my name, and I raised my wise old head to see what was up.
“Come!” I heard her say cheerily. “Come outside!”
I carefully pushed myself up on my elbows, raising my shoulders and finally balancing on my front paws. I was breathing a little fast, but it might have been the thought of cheese that had my heart rate up.
Slowly, carefully, I managed to get my back end off the floor, and I tottered toward my mistress. She called me to the front door, so I hobbled down the stairs. I prepared to have my leash clipped on, and lifted my head with regal dignity.
No clip, no leash.
Just Woman Who Walks Me, telling me to “Come outside.”
I looked at her in surprise. What was she asking me to do?
She stood there, right in front of me, and it was as if every dream of the past 12 1/2 years had suddenly come true.
She was holding the front door wide open.
Cautiously, I stepped toward the door. Act cool, I told myself. Pretend nothing strange is going on.
I took one step over the threshold, trying to look completely calm. Nothing to see here, folks, just the Wolf King, stepping out the front door with NO LEASH.
If I could have whistled, I would have.
As I got out onto the porch, and looked at the crowd of humans with food in their hands, I picked up a little speed.
“So long, suckers!”
I meant to run. In the old days, if I managed to get my nose out the door without a leash, I took off like a hound out of hell. I’d hit the woods, race around the house, bark at every human who dared to approach.
Man. Those were the days. Chasing squirrels, howling at the moon, rolling in dead stuff. And only coming home when I was good and ready.
I remember those days. My goal was always to go a little farther, stay out a little longer, bark a little louder.
So I tried to take off as I passed Woman Who Feeds Me. I shuffled with as much speed as I could muster, but my back end just wouldn’t keeping up.
I made my way across the grass, then chose the perfect spot to rest my royal self on the grass. I picked a spot as close to the cheese and pepperoni eaters as I could. I lowered my butt and carefully let my front end follow it down.
I allowed the peasants to approach, and to pat me as often as they liked. Many of them dropped cheese.
It was a peaceful day. My favorite small human came to bring me popcorn and crackers and to pat my royal head. Man Who Walks Me gave me extra love. Also cheese.
I am very old. I am ready to give up my quest to be the Royal Runaway, to travel farther and stay out longer. I am ready to go outside without a leash and stay in one place. I will let myself sleep in the sun while the human drop bits of tasty food all around me.
I am still the Wolf King.