My dog is old, old for a dog his size, which is very large.
And he’s dying. He is has some pain, and it is likely the beginning of the end.
Fortunately, we had excellent advice and have been able to reduce his discomfort, but I’ll be surprised if he lives out this season.
He has been an invaluable friend to me, to all our family really. His biggest contribution has probably been his presence. He is a stoic, reliable listener who loves anyone who’ll scratch him “just so”.
But that kind of “just being there” that he excels in wasn’t what I meant by his presence.
The fact that he was a part of my life, and I didn’t want to give him up, probably saved my marriage a couple of times – simply because I couldn’t afford a home suitable for him on my own. That, of course, was before children. Now I can’t afford a home for my girls and him on my own. And I wouldn’t want to.
He has been suffering from a kind of attention deficit disorder since the girls came along – he just doesn’t get enough of mine. At first, he claimed his special time with me by nudging the bathroom door open and demanding affection while I was on the john, pretty much the only time other than nursing when I sat down. But since the advent of potty training (still ongoing with A) he avoids that room like the plague. After all, there’s a good chance of getting splashed. And he hates getting wet.
So now he does a lot of sleeping, and tries not to intersect too much with our bossy girls. They learned to crawl by climbing all over him, and practically learned to walk holding on to a part of his leash, but now if he comes near one of them,she is apt to yell that “[the] dog is bugging me!” So he finds a corner and goes back to sleep.
We still have our chats after the kids go to bed. He hangs out in their room for the last goodnights, so I don’t forget him. Then I take him with me when the lights go out and, once he’s fed and the kitchen is cleaned up, we retire to the living room together.
He is the calm place where the whirling chaos of my mind slows down, the reason I need to get outside, and a good reason to come home. Soon, I won’t have his company, and I miss him already.