It occurred to me today, right after Brent said, “Does Dewey have his hearing aids in?” (and we laughed) that we do not treat our dog as our baby, like some dog owners do, but instead more like an old man who lives with us. An elderly companion with whom we share our home and our days.
We try to show courtesy and respect as befits his age of 11, and make sure his bowls are full of cold water and crunchy food at all times. I say 11, but that is 82 to the rest of us, according to the Dog Age Calculator I found online, which converts dog years to human years. The mathematic formula is different depending on the breed, which I hadn’t realized before. I chose golden retriever as the closest to Dewey, our golden doodle (which is a made-up kind of dog breed, and created primarily for cuddling and showing great interest and walking alongside and jumping up joyfully into the air in the younger years, and so forth, I would say, all of which are worthy reasons to be made).
Sometimes, more often now with the passing years, we pour bacon drippings or some other delicious gravy over his food to make him feel like he’s eating on a sidewalk in Paris, instead of our kitchen floor.
We are clearly in his twilight years, as people who love me like to remind me, in their campaign to prepare me for the loss that is to come. I know though. How could I not? These are the old dog days. Our dear friend is slower, sleeps longer, barks at old women (hence his retirement as a therapy dog), is disinclined to go out in the rain, no longer even pretends to be interested in the ball he has never had any intention of running after, takes the stairs gingerly and almost always with one of us coaxing him down from where we wait patiently near the bottom step. And I suppose, if he could, he would tell us stories from the past, the truth about what happened to my good leather shoes, and of all his other hijinks. We would listen, that is for sure.