Have you ever noticed that dogs don’t slowly age? The transition always seems to be startlingly abrupt. One day they’re zooming around the yard, chasing squirrels, and the next day it’s as if they’ve been beaten with the aging stick overnight.
That’s what appears to have happened to my dog Devo this past month. Once rather vigorous, he now seems to be moving much more slowly. He’s stiff in the mornings, and slow to get started. He’s a lot less patient with his brother. His eyes have become watery. He’s eating less. And several times I’ve caught him standing in the middle of the back yard, apparently lost in thought, for what seems like an eternity to me.
He was a stray, so I can’t be certain how old he is. Somewhere between 9 and 11, I think. What I know for certain is that Devo and I have been through a lot together. He has often made me smile when nothing else could. He’s been there for me, and I will certainly be there for him for however long he has left. If that means additional trips to the vet and medication and extra care, I’ll do it happily.
I gazed at him last night in the darkness of my bedroom. He was ensconced on the pillow next to mine, tucked in all cozy and warm, snoring gently. How I treasure him. I vowed that I will cuddle with him even more these days, and I whispered into his ear, “Don’t leave me yet, my friend.”