Over thirteen years ago I found this little, 4 month old puppy, running in front of my car and plopped down right in front of me, not moving. Just sat there. Asking to be taken. Demanding that I stop the car and pick her up. I think she was thinking I was going to save her life. Little did she realize that she was instrumental in saving mine.
So, over the past 13 years she has been a loyal companion to me and put up with the many, many moves all over this country. Phoenix to Ann Arbor, back to Phoenix, cross country drives back to Ann Arbor, 2 house moves and now, finally, settling in the little house in the barrio for the past 7 years. In the beginning, she has attachment anxiety where she couldn't stand to be away from me. She'd go crazy, literally cry all night. Until I came home. On my longer times away she would get depressed, sleep by the door and not eat for the first few days. When I'd arrive, she would greet me cordially then walk away...pissed that I left her for so long. Just walk away as though she had just seen me. Stubborn...a bit like me, some would say.
She has become a bit frail the past couple of months and I can see her age, her frailty, sneaking up on me. It's really a difficult thing to work through, the mortality of a loved pet. No matter how much she has soothed and comforted me, I can't help but realize how little I can help her.
When I came home from work the other day and found her laying there, on the hardwood floor, just looking up at me but not getting up, I simply thought she got into the garbage again. But no, she wouldn't get up. She laid there, looking at me, trying to get up. But her back side just stopped working. The feeling of utter helplessness is not a feeling I'll ever get used to. After spending the night in the hospital and fearing for the worst, the diagnosis was spinal arthritis...simple old-age ailments that I suppose I'll have to face one day. But to hear that my little girl has arthritis brings back the realization that her time with me is very, very temporary. As my friend John says, she's in her Golden Years. I want to make sure she enjoys it to it's fullest, and I can enjoy and appreciate all she's been to me while I still have her here...