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Early this morning we buried my old cat of 24 years-she fought every day to be with me, beside me looking up into my eyes…pleading for just one more treat. I was adored by her and I did everything I could to make her last few months peaceful and love filled. I willingly accepted her devotion and attention. She died on her own terms in her own time…. run free Squeekers I will have your treats ready! I will miss your Squeekie greeting each morning.

I live in a condo that does not permit dogs or cats. And, I do not have the physical stamina to walk a dog even if I could have one. But, for me, a large stuffed penguin may not have paws, but stroking its soft fur has been very comforting for me at bedtime, when my mind is racing, and I’m having trouble sleeping. He’s my lovey penguin!

We didn’t need the American Heart Association to remind us (although they did recently) that pets are playing a more important role than ever during the pandemic. Last year, the AHA started a campaign to bring pets to work once a week. They called the campaign “Best Friend Fridays.” Now many of the pets people were encouraged to bring to work on Fridays are full-time work-companions at home with their owner pals, reveling in new-found extra togetherness.

For those of us who have not been office-bound for years, or ever, really good news came in an AHA news release: Studies have shown that pet ownership is associated with increased exercise and fitness levels, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, decreased stress and greater overall happiness and well-being.

There is an implication here that dogs are the pets referred to in “Best Friend Fridays,” but stress is also released, it has been found, in watching goldfish swimming back and forth. Why do you think that is? What is your experience, past or present, with furry, feathered, or finny friends at home? Releasing stress is becoming a major goal these days! Please click here and tell us.

I can’t imagine I am alone in this thinking, but it is hard for me to think of myself as a senior. Tomorrow I turn 69. I still haven’t wrapped my head around it. That used to be old, wasn’t it?

It started when I turned 50. Wow, half a century! Couldn’t believe it. Then I turned 60 and had trouble with that at first, learning soon to embrace it. I remember thinking wow, a new decade. I am really getting up there. Now I have reached the last year of this decade and realize, time marches on and you have to accept it. But it sure isn’t easy.

I remember going in for coffee at Dunkin Donuts, my favorite by the way. The clerk winked and said ,“Don’t worry, I gave you the senior price,” without asking me if I was over 60. Throwing the cup at her crossed my mind, but then I thought you really want this cup of coffee. You’ll be sued, and the police will come, blah ,blah, so I returned to my car and sat staring at the cup, thinking reality is tough.

It is hard to accept, when in your head you are so much younger. Don’t worry, I am reminded constantly I am not 40. The eye doctor when he tells you cataracts are forming and that to expect it at your age. When I exercise and get aches where I didn’t even know I had muscles and pretty much every doctor appointment that begins with, well at your age.

So I plan to embrace my birthday, deal with my wrinkles and have at least one cupcake with chocolate icing.