The Power of the Elderbull
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
- Alfred Tennyson, "Ulysses" (1842)
I am old.
Time has taken away my strength. Gray fur covers muscles that used to bulge. Stubby nubs rest in gums that once housed white teeth. A silver muzzle casts a shadow on my broad jawline. Caloused skin covers old scars. Arthritic elbows offset my barrel-chested stance.
But do not pity me.
I am no longer defined by my physical self, so eyes that were once fearful now look at me with compassion.
I can no longer breed, so minds that were once greedy now look at me with indifference.
I can no longer fight, so hands that were once malevolent no longer seek to exploit me.
Do not pity me.
For I, as an Elderbull, have a unique role to play.
Though time has made me fragile and weak, time has also given me a gift to reach hearts and minds that were once frozen by fear or ill-will.
Until we see the day where no dog is judged his or her physical appearance, let us not underestimate the capacity for Elderbulls to tread where younger dogs cannot yet go.
Let us view our age not as a weakness, but as an opportunity.
Let us not underestimate the power of the Elderbull.
For even though we may need to be carried, we will plow the way for all dogs to be treated fairly.
Save a life. Open a heart. Change a culture. Adopt an Elderbull.