In her ‘prime athletic years,’ my dog was a sight to see when running at full speed – which was whenever she had an open field, or when we’d hike in the woods. Nearly as fast as a greyhound and capable of jumping over bushes and broken tree trunks at top speed, she’d chase jackrabbits and deer with intent and extreme pleasure. She loved to pursue…
Her bulging hind leg muscles and beautiful coat, which turned red in the sunlight, were complimentary; and she had the gate resembling that of a racehorse – smooth and graceful. I’ve had several dogs throughout my life, and all were special in their own right, but Kaya, athletically, was unrivaled.
No other dog of mine had such a strong prey drive and ability. Back in the day, when breeders first came up with the Rhodesian Ridgeback, they were bred to hunt lions – so you can understand the origin of the athleticism and their natural pleasure in chasing.
Not unlike humans, however, dogs lose their athleticism with age, relatively quickly. Now in her 9th year, Kaya has lost much of her muscular definition, developed a bit of a belly (her second love next to freedom is food, and she’s learned to steal meals from my sons), had 3 teeth removed, her snout is covered in grey fur, and she has half a dozen rather large cysts on her body. Unfortunately, she also has hypothyroidism, which causes severe fatigue. Kaya sleeps for almost 20 hours a day. Statistically, she’s nearing the end of her expected lifespan. The breed averages 10-12 years…
But still, to this day, and although she doesn’t move as quick, when I take her to the woods or an open field, she’s gone… searching for rodents or deer to chase, just for old times’ sake it seems. Whereas in her younger days she had a fighting chance of catching a rabbit and even smaller deer, today their speed is far too much. However, that doesn’t stop Kaya from trying!
That’s her inspiration, her mojo. It’s the source of her zest: Freedom to chase. And watching her at a distance chase a jackrabbit, she still bears a resemblance to her yesteryears. When she eventually returns to me after the ‘chase,’ there’s an ear to ear smile on her face, her tail wags at rapid speed, and she jumps up on me to give me a kiss, as if saying, “You see, Dad! I still got it.”
While you may no longer be in your so-called ‘prime,’ and as humans we tend to dwell on that a bit too much (with age comes wisdom, after all), get out there and find your inspiration – daily. Think back to what inspired you in your twenties or thirties, and give it a go. Some things need to be done just for you, results be damned. The effect is a better, happier you. That feeling and energy will reverberate in all aspects of your life.
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