Who knows whether dogs go gray or bald as they age?

 

Another golf tournament is over, and our town is returning to its normal size. If you are a visitor, have a safe journey home. (That goes double for the pleasant family from England and Scotland who let us explain the lunch menu to them in our native language, which they were having a hard time with.)

Another visitor was our granddaughter Madison, who turned 14 during her week with us. On Easter Sunday, the house was full of dyed Easter eggs, Easter cake, birthday cake, ice cream, and the soundtrack from kids, kids and more kids, and it only got louder from there.

Madison was good at taking care of her 2-month-old cousin and getting to know our two dogs again to the point that they didn't growl and nip at her every time she sat down. Everyone in our family has dogs (and some, I'm saddened to say, cats), and one day the conversation got around to dogs in general.

"How is Rex doing?" I asked Madison. Rex is a collie, but not a big, fluffy Lassie; he is subdued, with subtler colors and a flat coat.

Rex also is laid back, not yippy like our little dogs. He doesn't get excited; even if little Timmy fell in the well, I'm pretty sure Rex would suggest that perhaps the boy needed help and then would lie down and go to sleep.

To get an accurate picture of Rex in your mind, take Chester Cheetah, the Cheetos spokes-cat, and remove the sunglasses but keep the coolness.

Needless to say, I like Rex.

"Rex is getting old," Madison said.

"How could you tell with that dog?" I asked. "It's not like he could slow down any worse. Anyway, is his hair getting gray or something?"

That innocent question started a back-and-forth that got just about everybody in the house into it at one point or another. I have never seen a dog go gray, or, for that matter, bald, but several people told me they have had pets that grayed with age.

Someone in the house swore that she has seen dogs get gray around the eyes or in the whiskers around the muzzle. I simply don't know.

Then again, I have never had a really old dog. Something has always happened to my pets or to me to separate us.

Years ago, for instance, we had a little house dog that, because our landlady's German shepherd could not stay away from it, had to be given away. We put an ad in the paper, and one night a little girl and her dad came to the house. She loved our dog, so she became its new owner.

A couple of weeks later, the loneliness of our empty nest overtook us, so we called the family to see how the dog was doing. Someone who answered the phone said that the little girl wasn't available and that her father was in jail. We never got the rest of that story.

I have seen a lot of dogs in my time, and I truly don't remember seeing any whose locks resembled Willie Nelson's or Michael Jordan's. Even dogs that I knew to be ancient retained their fur in its natural color.

I'm not an expert, though, so if you know all about old dogs, call or write me, or post a response on this article at augusta.chronicle.com.

As for cats, who cares?

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