Our dog is growing old. She just turned seven and is developing joint problems in her elbow and knee. The vet says this is common at her age. So soon. Everything seems to be happening so quickly. The memory of her as a puppy is still so clear to me. We had to make sure she got exercise so she would not run around on the ceiling. Now we must make sure she exercises so her tendons and muscles don't weaken. We see ourselves in miniature in our dogs. They are so much like children their whole lives (especially certain breeds) that they get elderly seems perverse. Of course they can become helpless like the old in second childhood. But since the process of life plays out so fast in them, with a bit of effort we can distance ourselves from them because our state seems so stable. This is perhaps the way the sugar maple on our front lawn looks at me with its slow thought.