Petra, My Russian Pup, and her Eleventh Birthday

Jeff Zablow and his dog, Petra photographed by Jenny Jean Photography

Many of you have puppies and kittens. I’ve enjoyed reading of your love for your kitty cats and your pups. I’ve paused at times, when some of you share the sadness and pathos with the passing of those ‘best friends.’

Petra celebrates her 11th birthday in May 2021. She still loves life, though our walks have shortened and her naps lengthened. I still know that few will risk entering our home to do naughty things, for at 98 pounds, she looks too formidable, too able to respond. This ‘boy’ from Brooklyn has appreciated that, this last decade.

On walks, strangers have stopped and asked of her, and asked how old she is. On hearing that she is 10 years old, inconsiderate folks have said, “Oh, I’m sorry.” I’ve shot back “Sorry. Why sorry?” Them: Oh because those large breeds usually don’t live more than 9-10 years . . . . It’s happened 3 or 4 times, and it rocks my boat, it upsets.

How do I fortify myself for what necessarily must come? I ask. Losing Frieda A”H (“OBM”) was shattering, it was.