I wonder if you think the world is awfully quiet these days. And do you feel sad that nobody talks to you? It is not that we don’t talk to you baby bear, it is simply that you cannot hear us. You spend most days resting your eyes and I watch your little furry chest rise and fall, fondly but with just a whisper of urgency, suddenly aware that one day I might glance over and see it still. Whilst most thirteen year olds are but young, canine teenagers are elderly and you, my once enthusiastic tennis ball chaser, are, all of a sudden it feels, in your golden years.
There are daily medications, not for anything too grave, but many nonetheless. There is an orthopaedic mattress and a special ramp leading up to the car boot but, just like a stubborn old man, you refuse them, side swerving the very notion of treading one paw on that ramp whilst the mattress lies redundant at the back of the cupboard, also entirely rejected. Your arthritic limbs slip on the wooden floor and sometimes I help you up (I am sorry I ever bought those silly grippy socks for your paws, you were right, they were embarrassing – the rugs are much better). For brief moments you forget yourself and indulge in a morning roll on the wet grass or tease the youngster with a playful bow, inviting a game, only to remember your years and walk away.
Your breath could melt a baby’s face and yet there is something comforting about it, to know you are still there. Your fur, once a proud and lustrous mane, is thinning and scruffy and most people cannot tell, do not worry, but I know your tiny white chin has crept up around your sweet, old face – actually it is rather distinguished – my silver fox.
I hope you are a happy dog. I have some dreams for you – more birthday fish dinners, more blissfully quiet days (I feel bad that we filled your once peaceful life with tiny, boisterous people), more paddles on the sea shore, more cuddles (the ones where I kneel on the floor and you wind your little body right around me)… I will always want more time with you.
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