Dog Years

May 3, 2008 • Posted in book tour, Hanni, Uncategorized, visiting schools by

Riley helped me with the presentation.Last Wednesday Hanni and I took a commuter train to St. Pius X — a Catholic School in the Chicago suburbs. my nephew Ben’s kids go there, their great aunt came to talk and answer questions for Riley, Haley, Colin and their schoolmates. And then yesterday Hanni and I boarded a commuter train again, this time I talked to kids at the West Suburban Montessori School in Oak Park.

The questions kids ask from school to school vary, but whether we’re at a city school, a country school, a public school, whatever, one thing they all want to know is this: how old is Hanni? The answer always gets the same response from the audience– Eight-year-olds squeal with joy to discover Hanni is the same age they are.

Sometimes the kids want to know how old she is in human years, too. Turns out the idea that every dog year equals seven human years is a myth. Hanni is not 56 in human years yet. Not according to a converter on a Flat- Coated Retriever site, at least.We look much lonelier up there without my grand-niece to help!

“To work out the human age of a dog or other pets many people will multiply their age by seven years. This is not that accurate, as differing breeds of dogs will age at differing rates. For example, many smaller breeds of dogs such as a west highland terrier will live well into their late teens, whilst larger dogs may only live to about ten years. “

Did you catch that “whilst” word in there? That website is from Britain, and my talking computer reads it using a robotic British accent. It’s like having Michael Caine at my fingertips. Imagine.

But back to dog years. The site points out that dogs mature quickly in their early years – a medium-sized dog (Hanni weighs 63 pounds) will be 14 human years by their first birthday, a two-year-old dog her size is the equivalent of a 21-year-old human. No wonder Hanni was so goofy when I met her. She was about to turn 21!

Thereafter for every actual year, add on…5 years for a medium dog breed or 7 years for a large dog breed.

So many questions, so little time! Big dogs age faster? I’ll stick with calling Hanni a medium-size dog. That means she’s 51 in human years.

Hanni and I don’t have any more school visits scheduled for this academic year — our upcoming events are more for grown-ups. At each of these, I plan to announce this new calculation of Hanni’s age in human years. We’ll see if all the 51-year-olds squeal with the same exuberance those eight-year-olds do.

Bev On May 5, 2008 at 6:27 pm

Great shot of you and Riley. The kids look very enthusiastic. Of course, they were probably getting out of math or science to see you. Do you prefer to present to kids or adults?

Cheryl On May 5, 2008 at 7:11 pm

It seems like the kids never run out of questions for you, Beth. I’m sure the questions vary with different age groups. Have any questions surprised you? I agree that the kids in the photo look very excited to hear what you have to say and Riley looks like she enjoyed helping out Great Aunt Beth.

Beth On May 5, 2008 at 8:52 pm

Hmmm. Do I like talking to kids or to adults? Here’s my very diplomatic answer: I like talking to both. Actually, I like mixing it up, talking to a group of adults one day, then a group of kids the next. As for am I ever asked questions that surprise me, the answer is: all the time! Off the top of my head, I can name three:
1. How do you drive a car?
2. When they are picking which dog can become a Seeing Eye dog, do they make the dog lay on its back so they can check the dog’s belly first?
3. If you could see for one day, and you knew you couldn’t see anymore at the end of that day, what would you do that day?

Marilee On May 5, 2008 at 11:57 pm

Hanni always looks so relaxed! That was a large group of students! Riley must have done an excellent job of keeping the questions flowing.

Julie, Ben, Riley, Haley, and Colin On May 6, 2008 at 12:35 pm

Thank you so much for coming out to Lombard and speaking at St. Pius. The kids really enjoyed it! I was surprised at how much I learned about you. Thanks again!

Katie On May 6, 2008 at 1:51 pm

I see that you removed your jacket at some point in the presentation…did the gymnasium become warm? You look FANTASTIC in pink, my dear friend! Oh, and how DO you drive a car? wink wink

Beth On May 6, 2008 at 9:02 pm

Well, gee. I’ll have to wear pink more often. Truth is, one of the kids asked me how I keep track of what clothes I’m wearing, what color everything is. My answer described how I choose clothing: by how things feel, by their textures. That pink shirt is the only short sleebed shirt I own that has a bit of a “v” in front — a little seam at the “v” helps me remember that’s my pink shirt. . The blouse I was wearing at St. Pius over that pink shirt is reversible, so I took it off to show them how each side matches pink. That’s half the reason I chose to buy that particular blouse — it doesn’t matter which way I wear it, it always matches my pink shirt.
One other thing: the only way I know if something looks good on me is when I am complimented on how I look. So honestly, Katie, thanks for the positive comment. I really might seek out more pink shirts to wear!.

Mayville | Safe & Sound blog On February 27, 2015 at 3:29 pm

[…] a lot, and she just had a birthday. “Hanni is 15 years old now,” I said. After explaining what dog years are, I asked them to multiply 15 X 7. They were […]

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