Benny Jay: Old Dogs

June 16th, 2019

Sometime in the middle of last month, my dog Nicky lost her mind.

She developed an aversion to late-night walks. As in–she won’t do them anymore.

Every night, it’s the same old thing…

“C’mon, Nicky,” I say in that cheery sing-song voice we use for little kids and dogs. Like–this is gonna be so much fun!

But instead of walking down the front steps, she digs in her heals. Gives me the look that says: “No way, man.”

If I drop the leash, she whirls and heads back to the door–tail between her legs, as if to say:  “Hurry up and let me back in!”

It baffles me–there’s no obvious explanation. This is a dog who used to love late-night walks. She’s been my companion for thousands of them over the years.


Nicky, the dog–I ain’t walkin’ anymore!

I’ve heard all sorts of explanations for her behavior.

It’s the thunder storms…

Or the firecrackers…

Or her eyes are going bad and she can’t see in the dark…

(The vet offered up that one.)

I’ve received many suggestions. Like this one from my father…

“Take her to the doggie analyst and have her lie on the couch and tell the doctor about her dreams.”

As you can see, my father’s sort of fond of Freud.

The vet suggested we give her a treat as a reward for leaving the front steps. And not just any old doggie biscuit, but something special–like a piece of hot dog or chicken.

This makes sense. Hell, I’d do just about anything for a good piece of fried chicken.


Paging Dr. Freud!

But my wife gives the dog the treat and Nicky still resists.

“You don’t understand,” my wife tells Nicky. “I’m not giving you this piece of hot dog for the sake of giving it to you. You have to earn it. It’s a reward for going for the walk.”

“Oh, I understand perfectly,” Nicky tells my wife. “I’ll take the hot dog and you do the walking!”

Well, the dog doesn’t actually say that. She just let just know.

To be clear–Nicky’s an eager beaver when it comes to daytime walks. Tail wagging. Gonna run, run right down the street.

But at night–no way, Jack!

One night, a neighbor stops to watch me drag Nicky up the block. “Let’s face it,” the neighbor says, “your dog’s getting old.”

Makes as much sense as anything. With dogs as humans, getting old’s a bitch.

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