Lady is 18, a grand old age for a dog. One of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever known. Originally from Costa Rica, she came to me 10 years ago. Her haunches were worn bare, her nose brown and crusty, most of her teeth worn down from gnawing on the concrete in the shelter where she lived.
Over the last year, her age is starting to show. I noticed how skinny she was getting, like a bag of bones. Her hips are visible through fur and skin. She began to slip when jumping down from her chair; Her legs collapsing from underneath her.
Lately, she paces or stands in the middle of the room, staring into a world I cannot see. Sometimes, she barks and pauses over and over again. I wonder what she is looking at and what she thinks as she stands there. As I softly call her name, she snaps out of her reverie. Where ever she was, it wasn’t here. She wags her tail and comes to me for a pet.
I’m learning to predict her needs. I scoop her up and place her on the chair she can no longer jump upon. I let her out more often and put down pee pads. A lot of pee pads. She follows me everywhere as if she needs the comfort of my presence.
Watching her life wind down is bittersweet. I love the warmth of her body as she curls up beside me on the couch, and when she looks up at me, I take a mental picture to etch everything about her into my memory. These moments are coming to an end.
My dear Lady. I’m thankful she’s had a long life and that she spent most of it with me. For both our sakes, I hope she passes quietly in the night, lost in her dreams. I miss her already.