It's half-term here in the UK. No matter when the Summer term commences, half-term always falls in the week of the late Spring Bank Holiday which is the last Monday in May. (It's also Memorial Day in the USA.)
Gillian and her husband and their family have gone camping for a few days and their two dogs have come to us for their holiday. Barry went to Dorset to collect them yesterday and great was the excitement when the dogs saw him. Arriving home there were ecstatic greetings between the dogs and between dogs and humans. Jenna-the-Labrador turned widdershins when she saw Foxy - a fox-red Labrador a couple of months older than her. They raced around the garden and then up and down the stairs. Tia, also a Labrador, established herself in the pecking order. She is a few months older than Frodo the Faller and has no qualms about asserting her authority. Dominie remains the leader of the pack and they all defer to her.
Last evening we took them all out for a walk. Always when the Labradors come to stay they form a neat pack with Jenna, working together to seek and retrieve the ball, though Foxy's really more interested in retrieving biscuits.
The Dalmatians are a different sort of unit; they will pace along for hours while the Labradors tear around and wear themselves out.
The effect on Dominie was incredible. She greeted the visitors vociferously and when we were out walking she was rushing along on her wheels with renewed interest and energy. She seemed rejuvenated and yet I shouldn't be surprised at this for it happens with people too.
Put young people - babies, children, teenagers - among their elders and see how the older folk respond. I noted this with my parents. My sister was fifteen years older than me, my brother six. I was eleven when my first niece was born and my oldest great-niece is only two years older than my youngest daughter. This meant that my parents had continuous contact with young people for most of their lives. I cannot know for sure if that was the reason my parents always had inquiring minds and were more interested in the future than their own remarkable past. They didn't talk about or turn the conversational spotlight on themselves but needed to know what was in the minds of the younger people around them.
I do know, however, that young people gave them mental stimulus and kept them alert and vital and living independently to the end. I believe that they were interesting because they were interested and so were much loved by their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.