An increasing number of senior citizens are calling Forest Park home. So we interviewed one of our longtime residents, to see how he’s coping with the challenges of old age. 

Coop, judging from your muzzle, you’re getting on in years. Just how old are you?

(Speaking beagle through an interpreter) “I’m 12 — so if you do the math — I just turned 84.”

Does this mean you’re slowing down a bit?

“Well, I’m not chasing Frisbees, if that’s what you mean. On a normal day, I lay on my chair and try to squeeze in a 12-hour nap.” 

So, I take it you’re retired. What did you do for a living?

“After I dropped out of obedience school, I didn’t have many career options. So I went into home security. My job was to howl hysterically at every dog that walked past the house and chase squirrels out of the backyard.”

Did you ever catch one?

“No. In fact, now I’m having trouble getting up and down those stairs. I’m pretty sure they’re not in compliance with the ADA [Aching Dog Act].” 

I guess that leaves you plenty of time to visit with your grandpups?

“Actually, I never married. After this one trip to the vet, the ladies no longer seemed interested. I told them we could adopt but I couldn’t find any takers.”

Did you do anything financially to prepare for retirement?

“Sure, I joined AARF, when I was 9.” 

Did this give you discounts on your dog food?

“We just call it food — no, but this crunchy stuff they’ve been feeding me all these years. It hurts. I belong on a soft food diet — I need something out of a can.”

Speaking of AARF, I understand you’ve also retired from barking.

“Yeah, my throat was killing me. Besides, all my barking buddies, Bruno and the rest — they’re gone.” 

Do you still enjoy walks?

“Hey, I still have a nose. But my owners rarely walk me. I wonder sometimes who the real senior citizens are in this house.” 

Have you been to the dog park lately?

“I told you, I like smelling — not being sniffed by strangers.”

Besides arthritis, are you having any other, um, age-related problems?

“No, I make regular trips to the backyard. If you see any stains — well, let’s just say I’m not the one spilling wine on the carpet. I did have one accident, though. Last spring, this thunderstorm literally scared the crap out of me.” 

So you’re content to live out your golden years in Forest Park?

“Yes, but I would prefer we downsize to a ground-level condo. Also, I could use a walk-in shower. I get scared every time they lift me into the tub for a bath.” 

 John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball and strolling through cemeteries.

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.