Yesterday after I got home from work, I took the time to do something important. I played with our dog. He’s pushing 13 and such a good boy. The only thing he’s really pushy about is getting dog treats. Terrible manners. But other than that, he’s our golden boy in more ways than one.
We played catch and fetch with his “lion.” He is really stiff jointed at times so catching is really just a toss to him, so he only has a small hop up to catch it. It’s good exercise for him. Fetching is a toss to just where the carpet ends and the foyer begins. He lumbers over and grabs his toy and lopes back. Very small movements can be so important for physical well-being. I learned this when I was having physical therapy. It’s just amazing how small repetitive movements of a certain nature can help to strengthen your muscles and help you move more easily. Plus, he loves to play so it is truly a win win.
He demonstrated how well behaved he is and how well taught he is. He knows the commands he has heard all his life. Sit, stay, down, come, give, back, pose, bring, and of course, speak. He also demonstrated that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks… if he doesn’t want to learn them. He has done this on a number of occasions. It’s safe to say the theory holds true in our home.
He squeaked his lion and gave it “love nibbles”. He stopped to rest a couple of times. It was just a perfect day in the life of our old dog. I so wished I had a video camera – that works – so I could have captured all the nuances about him that show what a wonderful dog he is. How well behaved he is and how happy he is to be our dog. Even with his decidedly gray face and eyebrows, he is a beautifully handsome boy. I must have hugged him ten times. I told him what a good boy he is at least twenty times. His cloudy eyes were quite alert while he waited for the next toss, with a command of “catch” or “go get it.” (He appreciates the heads up…)
And as I sat there, loving the time spent with our dear family member, I was struck by how wonderful it is to have an old dog. To have cared for him his whole life and to see him age, to take him to the vet when he was sick and to love him more all the time. To have people say, “wow, you’re an old doggie” when they meet him is a somewhat prideful thing. Yes. He’s an old dog. He’s our family member. He’s the best dog ever. He’s the “King of Tinkyness” (he doesn’t stink – he just likes things that do…). Yes. He is old and gray and he’s more work than he used to be, but he’s my best friend. He’s a best friend to all of us. He’s never let us down. He’s never “not there” for us. He’s the most wonderful companion I’ve ever had.
About a week ago, I was sitting on the deck enjoying some time with the sky and our critters. The two cats and the dog love to keep me company. I remember looking at our wonderful boy and looking up at the sky and thinking, “Who will protect me when Boomer’s gone?” And a horrible feeling came over me. The foreboding of sadness on the horizon. I looked back at my faithful friend who raised his head, looked around …and began to whine. It was quite a moment. I choked up.
We are the proud parents of a senior dog. One who has given us the best of days, ours and his. One who has shared our home and our love and never given up on us. Ever. Never will you ever see our dear compatriot listed as needing a home because he got too old, or we retired or had to sell the house. I’m not judging those whose families have made those types of decisions. I just know that we will never make any kind of move without our old dog. Our best buddy. The most incredible addition our family has ever known. As long as there are squirrels at the bird feeder that need to be chased, or his arch enemy – the UPS man – is daring to drive up to the house, our old man will have our backs. Right up to the end. We know it’s coming one day. But for today, we will carry on as usual. Giving him too many dog treats. Agreeing with visitors that he’s such a nice boy and still so handsome. Getting up to let him in.. or out.. and in again so he can go out… again.
Sharing a day in the life of our good, old dog is a gift I gave myself yesterday. Thank you, Boomer, for reminding me what old dogs are good for – everything.