As we grow, Mother Nature sends us through a series of changes, at first to make us cute and lovable, then to make us handsome or beautiful, and then finally to make us gray and pathetic. Bingo is definitely in the second stage now.
When Cheryl and I take him out in public, we don't hear those Oh, isn't he cute comments very often any more. Mostly now, the women will say Isn't he handsome, and men will say, in a deep voice, You've got a good looking boy there.
Of course, there is a biological purpose to these life stages: we are wide-eyed and cute at first so that adults will care for us, we become handsome so that our future mates will find us, then we get gray and shrivelled so our loved ones won't be so sorry when we are gone. (Just kidding about the last part--some of us gray ones are still pretty lovable.)
But unlike humans, who spend much of their lives staring into mirrors, dogs move from one stage to another with only instinct as a guide, not quite sure what all the fuss is about.
Cheryl is away at a conference this week, so Bingo and I are on our own, taking many walks and working on his distractions and on "find the sidewalk" and similar commands.
Our neighbor has a black lab female, about 9 years old, and Bingo met her on the sidewalk yesterday. For the past year, he's seen her only from a distance, but finally they were nose to nose. I didn't have to correct him once, and the other dog was getting pretty excited. Who can blame her?