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My dog turns 15 soon. He has developed a bit of a limp, and he’s lost some teeth, and his eyes are a little cloudy and he can’t hear that well. For a Jack Russell terrier, that’s a bit of a blessing because fireworks and thunderstorms used to freak him out, and now he just sleeps right through them.

He sleeps a lot now, but being a Jack Russell, his waking moments are filled with abject rage at anyone who dares come within 50 feet of our house. If he is able to detect a blur go by our fence, the limp disappears and he takes off barking and running until the threat has passed. We live next to a public park, so the threat level stays pretty high.

Despite his ferocity, my dog has a soft spot for my kids. I don’t know if it is actual affection, or that they are so loud he can actually hear them, or maybe because they drop the most food. Whatever it is, the bond is there.

I am a little jealous of their connection. As our dog got older, he developed certain habits. For instance, if he is asleep on the couch, and I sit next to him, he will get up and go to a different couch. Maybe I smell bad, I don’t know, but he always will sit with the kids or my wife.

He used to sleep in our bed, but he’s taken to sleeping alone downstairs. I’ve tried carrying him to bed, but he promptly hops out and retires to his private quarters. But every morning, he jumps in bed and wakes us up and snuggles with me, so I don’t take it too personal. He’s just set in his ways.

The oddest thing my dog has started doing in his old age is leaving the room when someone sneezes. He could be sound asleep, but if you sneeze, he will jump up and go directly out the doggie door into the backyard. He’s like a germaphobe that sometimes eats grass and will roll in dead things given the opportunity.

As far back as my dog and I go, I’ve been going to the Beef Cattle Short Course a little longer. I believe this will mark my 20th year, and I look forward to it every year. In our cover story we take a look at what to expect and how to register. We have news and information from around the ag industry as well as the latest on upcoming events and sales. Hope you enjoy it, and thanks for reading.

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