Elderly three-toothed dog is a bit sluggish. He has not been following me around as he usually does. He sits more. He walks slowly. I suspect he has Old Dog Hindquarters Issues - arthritis, weakness perhaps? Is he in pain? I hope not. A visit to the vet will help.
The day I brought him home with me, I probably knew in the back of my mind (though I never said it out loud) that this dog would likely not be with us as long as our previous dogs had been. Tio was already nearly 11, according to his paperwork; and although he is a small dog -- and thus likely to live longer than a larger dog -- we really cannot be certain what age he will attain. We shall see. Right now, he is eating reasonably well, and can make his way into the yard to take care of his dog business, and enjoys lying in the sunshine. My goal, therefore, is to ensure his comfort and Small Dog Happiness during his waning time.
On the way to work today, my iPod shuffled through to The Drugs Don't Work, by Ben Harper.
All this talk of getting old
Is getting me down, my love....
Now the drugs don't work
But I know I'll see your face again.
This is a song that reminds me of my beloved ottoman-shaped dog, and of making the decision not to perform surgery or radiation or any extreme measures for his cancer, but rather, to give him medication in the hopes to slow down the disease progression and to make him comfortable. The drugs helped with comfort, but did not change the speed with which the disease overtook him. Alas. Godspeed, ottoman-shaped dog. You are still loved, from this side of the bridge.
I still can't listen to the song without choking up a little bit.
I find myself thinking, I can't do this again -- go through the decision to help another creature to cross the bridge. And yet, I will. And I must -- because I can make the passage easier for that tiny furry soul. And that is what love is: to be there, with kindness, until the end.