What a bizarre year. Just looking at last year's numbers, it almost doesn't make sense to compare, but what the hell:
- Last year I flew the fewest air-miles in 20 years; this year, I flew the fewest since the first time I got on a commercial airplane, which was during the Nixon Administration. In January I flew to Raleigh-Durham and back, and didn't even go to the airport for the rest of the year. That's 1,292 air miles, fewer than the very first flight I took (Chicago to Los Angeles, 1,745 air miles). I did, however, make an overnight trip to Wisconsin in November, easily breaking the record for my longest travel drought but making it shorter than never.
- This is my 609th post on the Daily Parker in 2020—an average of more than 50 per month. This new record blows away the one I set just last year by 10.5%. (Imagine how much I'd have written had anything newsworthy actually happened in 2020.)
- The pandemic let me spend Parker's last eight months with him nearly every day. Despite his age and discomfort, we managed to go for almost 241 hours of walks (274 annualized), a whopping 29% (46% annualized) more than in 2019.
- Including today, I got 4,848,171 steps, averaging 13,246 per day. This is 5.7% fewer than last year. I missed 10,000 steps on seven occasions—five this month. Without a daily commute or a dog, not to mention the cold weather, I have struggled since Thanksgiving to get motivated enough to get longer walks in. That said, I hit a new record of 312 consecutive days over 10,000 steps, a record I don't anticipate ever breaking. I also got 56,562 steps on September 4th—another record I don't expect to break soon.
- I once again read more than the year before, with 39 books started and 37 completed. (I'm still working on The Power Broker, which I started 18 months ago...) On the other hand, I watched 59 movies and 79 TV series, compared with 56 and 38 respectively in 2019. Of course, almost all of that was streaming on my home computer while programming on my work computer, but it's a lot.
I can't even predict what will happen in 2021. I expect fewer steps, more books, and actually to start traveling again. Here's hoping for a speedy vaccination.
I just wanted to shout out to two dogs I've been able to hang out with this week.
On Wednesday I watched my neighbors' dog Sophie for the day. She really didn't care that I don't allow dogs on the couch:
And yesterday, I hung out with this pretty girl:
I'm not ready to adopt another dog yet. But I'm glad my friends occasionally need dogsitting services.
How did I miss this Times article from November?
Lab tests can tell how old a human is just from the pattern of methylation. Thanks to this research, the same can be done for dogs. The results will help researchers studying aging in dogs to translate findings to humans. None of this research was done on dogs kept in a laboratory. All of the dogs in the aging comparison study were pet Labrador retrievers and the owners gave permission for blood samples.
Scientists are unsure about whether the physical decline seen in aging in dogs and humans, in fact in all mammals, is related to the process of development in earlier life, or whether the decline is a different process altogether. The researchers found that the pattern of methylation suggested that the same genes may be involved in both processes.
Good methods of comparing dog and human ages are important. Dogs are increasingly seen as good models for human aging because they suffer from it in many of the same ways humans do. As the Dog Aging Project, which is collecting genetic and other information from a vast number of pet dogs, puts it on its website, the goal of the research is “Longer, healthier lives for all dogs … and their humans.”
I miss my aging dog. And the day this article was published, Parker was old indeed.
I thought to end the two-week run of Parker puppy photos with one of a game he invented. When he put the ball right between his paws like that, my job was to try grabbing it from him. He would try to pick it up. Since he had lots of teeth and I just had a hand, he would always win. Then, when he wanted me to toss it again, he'd roll it over to me with his nose.
18 April 2007
I miss him.
There's a quiet dignity to dogs...
18 August 2007
Back when Evanston allowed dogs on restaurant and bar patios, Parker and I visited Tommy Nevin's Pub a lot. Sometimes there wouldn't be room on the patio per se, so I'd sit just inside. He, of course, had to stay just outside. Like this, mostly (1 July 2007):
The Apollo Chorus has a concert tonight (register here; you can watch any time before Christmas), so I'm getting this out a little late.
One problem with having a puppy, like Parker here at 9 months: action shots get more difficult (10 March 2007).
See that turquoise blanket he's on? I've only just thrown it out. I'm not even going to describe its condition after 13 years of a dog sleeping on it. (18 February 2007)
While 2020 hasn't given us a lot to be thankful for overall, I am thankful that I got to spend 14 years and 2 months with Parker. He was simply the best dog on the planet, and he lived a long and happy life.
Parker at Bardwell Park, Evanston, Ill., 18 February 2007.
Getting my bête noir to pose for photos always challenged my patience and photography skills. This is his 3rd birthday portrait, 16 June 2009: