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Monday, November 2, 2009

As They Age...

Pictured is Pinky, my 15 year old Dal on the left and Rouge, my 2 year old on the right.

It's ironic to have them pictured together and it's also the perfect introduction to today's doggy thought - as our beloved dogs age.

I've written about this before, but when Pinky turned 10, I had a reality moment where it suddenly occurred to me that my time with her was limited. We no longer had an entire future ahead of us, but instead our days were numbered.

It was at that moment that I made a decision that I wanted her to pass knowing that she was LOVED. Don't get me wrong, Pinky was loved before that decision, but I changed my ways to include a ton of smaller, moments into our daily life. That's when I learned to smile at my dogs, to touch them or kiss them on the head as I passed by, to snuggle, to play more and for the Dals, to cover them up while they slept (they appreciate the warmth).

As Sadie, Dan's Chocolate Lab aged (she passed away last year at 15.5 years old), there were signs. The gray around the muzzle, the wobbly back legs, cloudy vision, a loss of hearing, a bit of dementia and then later a lack of control of her bowels.

Over the last year, Pinky has aged a lot. When I look back at pictures, I'm reminded of black spots that have faded with time and as she walks, she does more of a bit of a waddle vs. a trot. This is a far cry from the spry agility champion she was back in the day.

It's at moments like these that I really miss our active times together and our solitary moments (at one time she was an only pup!). Thanks to her, I was able to travel the country and experience so much.

In daily life, I've slept comfortably with her tucked in next to me for over a decade and when there were moments I've been sad and crying, she'll snuggle in and lick my tears away. Pinky's raised me from a pup and I'm realistic in knowing that my short time with her is only getting shorter with each passing day. Ugh - reality is rotten sometimes!

I think that part of the reason I've surrounded myself with such wonderful, loving young pups is that soon I won't have my lovely old girl. However, I will have Rouge who will one day be our new Matriarch, Rylee who is my dream Terv and baby Zulu with his happy attitude. I also have my other tried and true dog, Spot.

So back to the picture. For me, it symbolizes 2 generations of my Dals pictured together. I imagine in 10 years, Rouge will be my old girl and I'll have a new young matriarch developing in the wings. Such is the way of life and all we can do is make the most of each moment.

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