Our husky, border collie mix is getting old. Next spring he’ll be 12. The two other dogs we know his age (one, his litter-mate) both died this past year. We can see Kokanee is aging – just look at all that white on his cute, old face:
There are other signs, too. He’s a little slower getting around. He doesn’t jump to greet us face-to-face. Plus he’s been randomly barking at the dark windows (we think his eyesight is going). But we forget how old he is because he’s still so young at heart most days. He always wants to play. He runs around the living room with his toy. He still gets spazzy when people come over. He’s just a young pup in and old dog’s body.
Last night we started dog sitting a 2-year-old puppy. Oh, I forgot how bouncy and sproingy and FAST a young dog is! I think Kokanee had forgotten as well, because he’ll try to play with her, but then says, “NO!” when she jumps on him. (Well, it sounds more like “Ruff!” but we all know what he means.) Tomorrow we’ll be taking them both to the dog park so they can run-play instead of wrestle-play, since the old man can’t take that physical stuff.
But it’s hard to face the reality of age, be it in a dog or in ourselves. We try to prepare ourselves, our children, but the end of life is a hard thing to process. My kids and I try to think about what’s next (we’ll get two smaller dogs), while my husband gets mad when he hears us talking about it. We know Kokanee is irreplaceable, but without the positive on which to focus, the emptiness of his eventual absence is too much to bear.
I don’t even know how to end this other than to say that growing up is hard, and sometimes it sucks. And dogs are awesome.