Kodi is now 11.5 years old. I add the .5 because I figure by the time a dog gets to be 11, they deserve a little extra credit for things.
Kodi, in his prime, was a machine. He was lean, hard, and could go forever. Kodi at 11 has a touch of middle aged spread (though I am assured by my vet he is not "fat") and while he is still hard he goes for only about 90% of forever. I guess what I'm saying is, despite being grey in the face and deaf as a post, Kodi still has a lot of kick to him and on Tuesday of this past week he showed me he's not done being fully of surprises yet either.
On Tuesday, Kodi chased, jumped for, and caught a frisbee.
I know! Amazing right? I'm kidding, it's not really, dogs catch frisbees all the time, but here is the amazing part: Kodi has, until Wednesday, probably caught (out of the air) about a dozen frisbee throws. Usually he'll chase it down once, maybe twice, and he may or may not bring it back. As a result, at a very young age, we stopped bothering to play frisbee and used a tennis ball instead.
Over the past several weeks I have been practicing with Badger to prepare both of us for our first disc dog competition. That's a sport where you get points and win prizes for successfully throwing a frisbee to your dog, based on things like distance, accuracy, and speed. Badger isn't very good at this, he has the tendency to spin in circles underneath the frisbee until it clonks him on the back of the head. Unfortunately that's not worth any points.
While I've been practicing I've allowed Old Reliable Kodi to wander around the park, eat grass, sniff at things and return to me for an ear scratch at his leisure, until Wednesday. On Wednesday, after months of showing zero interest in these exploits and a lifetime of never wanting to play frisbee, Kodi picked up a disc and brought it to me. So I threw it.
Not only did Kodi chase it, but he caught it, and to my utter amazement, he brought it right back to my feet and set it down, backing up in anticipation of another throw.
"Again?" I asked him.
'Again' said his body language as he shifted his front feet in geriatric excitement.
So I threw it again, and again, and again. As his confidence in the game grew he started to leap into the air for the disc. Other times I was sure he wouldn't catch it before it touched the ground but amazingly he would find a new gear and dart in for it at the very last moment, and he kept bringing it back and saying "again, again, again" in the only way a dog knows how.
On Thursday, we tried again, to see if it was just a one time thing. Again he chased, jumped, caught, and returned with the disc, tail wagging and hairy old feet dancing.
Tomorrow, at 11.5 years old, Kodi will compete in his first disc competition in the senior's class.
Kodi has been my first everything. My first dog, my first obedience dog, my first flyball dog, my first agility dog. I guess he's not ready to give up that role. He's going to be my first disc dog too.
Here's to all the firsts yet to come with our senior dogs.