“You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before the rest of us.” Robert Louis Stevenson
What experiences have you had with a dog? Would you want another one? Did you ever feel it was your best friend?
It’s not fun to be an old dog or an old woman, but our age is the main thing Susie and I have in common. We can’t climb steep mountains anymore and we both have to eat a special diet although I don’t throw mine around on the floor like she does. We need more sleep than we used to, but she naps most of the day. I slip one in on an occasional afternoon.
I don’t chase guys anymore because I’m married to a great guy and couldn’t be happier. Susie doesn’t chase rabbits anymore, just stares and lets them run away. She goes out to do her business, finds sniffing every inch of the ground more interesting, and finally pees. Then she returns to the house only to leave “the remains” of her day in the middle of the hardwood floor. At least I don’t have to worry about that kind of confusion yet.
At times, she walks around in circles looking for something but can’t remember what it is. She stares at the wall, hoping the answer will be written there. Like Susie, it’s not unusual for me to head to a cabinet or my desk and find I haven’t a clue as to why I’m there. Words that disappear in the middle of my speaking a sentence take five minutes to appear. I need to do a crossword puzzle every morning to awaken my mental dictionary.
Every Day Holds Surprises
Fortunately, due to two years of physical therapy after an injury to my back, I’m doing a thirty-minute walk every day and have gained strength so that I feel like myself again, energetic and curious about life. Others talk about being bored during the pandemic, but I look forward to a boring day and having more time to read and write.
Surprises arise every day. They test my patience. I discover I am out of an item that requires placing an order on an unfamiliar website, which in turn requires learning a new technical trick. Many items we use often have recently died: the iron, the toaster and my printer’s toner. As for ordering food, it’s almost impossible to get good broccoli with a delivery, and we can’t live without that. While I’m struggling with these challenges, Susie is snoring, asleep on her bed.
Age Brings Physical Limitations
But all these challenges are easier to deal with than Susie’s issues. It’s tough to be an old dog when your back legs start giving out. You slip when you try to climb the stairs or fall when you charge up them, forgetting your legs don’t support you anymore.
It’s confusing when you can’t hear the orders your caretakers give. You look at them and dash in the opposite direction. They fuss at you, but of course it’s nice not to hear them when you don’t want to obey. Looking at them with eyes that still see well, you grin and continue sniffing the grass.
As a female, it’s not surprising that Susie is very fashion conscious. Every morning when I’ve put on my jeans she sniffs my leg. Her approval is important to me, and if she knows how I smell that day, since she’s only knee-high tall, she’ll be able to find me easily in a crowd and identify me apart from my husband who is more likely to feed her.
A Dog’s Love Is Always There
While her nose may carry her into the wrong bushes or into the deep ivy beneath the trees, cold and wet, it bumps mine when I’m sitting and lean down close to her face. It’s her version of a kiss that says she loves me – a moment I always treasure.
Susie and I may not be able to hike the steep trails of the Appalachians anymore or race around the block, but we both still know how to love and hang out on the deck together.
Milan Kundera said it best: “Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.”
© 2020 Georganne Spruce