A few days ago, I noticed Darling Doggie Dallas was hobbling a bit after he awoke from a nap.
Wondering what was wrong, I ran my hands over his paws and legs (all of them, just to be safe).
I called his vet, who suggested keeping him quiet and watching him. If he’s still wonky tomorrow, I was told, call back.
The next day, he seemed better. I couldn’t bring myself to walk him, but neither did I believe he needed a doctor.
Two days later, he was still wobbly. This, despite the fact he was eating and pottying normally, playing, and in good spirits. So I called the vet back.
He’ll be seven in November, she said. Sometimes they start feeling their age about then, just like people.
What?? Why, that’s barely 42 in human years!
Is it time to put him on glucosamine and condroitin, I kidded.
Sounds like a great idea, they said.
So it starts.
When we bring a puppy into our homes (and hearts), we know that, because of their shorter life spans, we’ll likely outlive them. In the mad scramble to housebreak, socialize, and train them, we don’t think about that.
We’re far too enamored with their cute little noses. And soft fur coats. And warm brown eyes.
And how they love us unconditionally. Like when we’ve had a hard day and feel no one else understands.
But aging doesn’t rear its ugly head suddenly; we’ve got time to acclimate to it. To look for “old age” signs — a bit more white to the muzzle, an ability to sleep as only old dogs can.
Still, it frightens me.
Triple-D is my soul dog. Sure, I’ve invested a lot of time and money into his care, but more than that, I’ve given him my heart.
The mere suggestion that he’s not always going to be a part of my life brings tears to my eyes.
After all, I’ve been through a beloved dog’s death before.
The gut-wrenching pain, the crying jags, the empty feeling deep in your soul.
And I don’t want to go through that again.
Not on the heels of Domer’s leaving home.
So I’ll put on my Pollyanna hat and focus on the bright side. A Sheltie’s average lifespan is 12-13 years, but they can live 15 years or longer. The Sheltie I owned before Dallas lived to 19 years!
I refuse to think Triple-D is on his last leg. This is just a blip on the radar.
Don’t you agree??