I am thrilled that America's top dog is old.
Stump, the Sussex spaniel pictured at left, is 10 years old--the oldest dog ever to win Best in Show in the 133-year history of the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club dog show.
Stump, who won quite a few titles in his youth, retired five years ago after a serious illness. Last week his handler got a sudden inspiration and registered him for Westminster. The Associated Press story in today's Boston Herald begins:
Imagine Michael Jordan coming back to make one more jumper. Or John Elway returning to toss a final TD pass. Or Nolan Ryan reappearing to throw a farewell fastball.
That’s what happened in the dog show world.
Depending on who's counting, a 10-year-old dog could be anywhere between 50 and 70 in human years. According to this website, which takes a dog's size into consideration, Stump would be about 60.
Stump's story brings to mind something Auguste Renoir said about his fellow artist Edgar Degas:
If Degas had died at fifty, he would have been remembered as an excellent painter, no more. It is after his fiftieth year that his work broadens out and that he really becomes Degas.
My own old dogs, however, have their own favorite quotations:
Let sleeping dogs lieand
They also serve who only stand and wait.