This morning, though, I was given a bit of a reality check and needed to exorcise some emotions in the form of words on the virtual page. Was reminded of this small collection of writings and then forced to reset my password since it had been so long since I visited it. Let's see if I can keep it going a little longer this time around...
Walter has been with us well over a dozen years now. He’s probably 14 or 15 years old (depending on his age when he first graced us with his presence.) In a way, he was initially a kind of “rebound dog” for Danielle after her canine companion, Grizzly, died. Lately, this handsome gentleman who immediately won my heart and became my best good boy has started showing the signs of his age.
Perhaps most inconveniently, at least for us, he’s having a hard time holding in his poop.
We’ve been fortunate so far in that he tends to have accidents at night while everyone is sleeping and until today the evidence is quite solid and easy to pick up. I try not to make a big deal of it so as to not embarrass the old fellow. Seems the least I can do to not bruise his pride and dignity at this late stage in the game.
This morning, though, the evidence was a little less consistent and required more scrubbing in the clean-up effort. He seemed anxious about watching me do it, or maybe he just picked that up from me?
Either way, after our walk and after cleaning his bed and the hallway rug, I found myself Googling to see what other signs I need to be looking for in the near future. After surveying several checklists, I recognize that his mobility issues are indeed a serious indicator of decline.
But all the other important signs are still notably absent.
After my feet hit the floor in the morning, his still follow soon thereafter ready for a quick breakfast and then a walk. He seems to still enjoy our walks, even though they take considerably longer.
Occasionally he’ll still speed up after recognizing a rabbit or squirrel in our path. He’s still very obviously motivated to action by the scent of human food.
His tail still wags when Danielle scratches his ears and talks to him like a baby.
He is occasionally roused to rowdiness by three kids horse-playing in his general vicinity and during the daylight hours he’s quick to let you know if/when he needs to go outside.
For breakfast every morning Walter has a Cesar’s meal—sometimes chicken noodle, sometimes sirloin tips, beef stew, the old boy has options. Regardless of the main course, though, there’s always half of a pain pill buried in there, and this really seems to help.
Unfortunately, the pharmacologists have yet to formulate a substance that can mitigate the pain of losing such a close friend. And that’s why the late, great Leonard Cohen penned the poetic line: “everybody’s got that broken feeling, like their father or their dog just died.”