Back in 2004, I made the incredibly intelligent post-college grad decision to use my gift of persuasion and push my high school sweetheart into marriage. I then of course had to follow up my adulting by checking things off my list of grandiose holly-homemaker life goals – husband, check! house, check! a dog named Princess, check! Ah the optimistic dreams of my early 20’s, my life was so complete! Only…
The husband… I, um, about that, <cringey face> the husband turned out to be a decision I maybe might have should have maybe thought through a little longer. We barely lasted a year and in the best Forrest Gumpiest voice I can muster, that’s all I have to say about that.
The house… the house was a tiny ranch that had this really high-tech central air system that actually cleaned my carpets for me by leaking pools of water under the furnace room wall into the guest bedroom. The plumbing did this really cool thing where it would generously show me the poo water in my pipes by bubbling it up through the drain in the bathtub if I flushed the toilet, ran a sink and had the washing machine going at the same time. And the neighbors were ah-mazing creatures who would eat lunch in their driveways on tv trays in their underwear while hosting garage sales. I’m not even kidding a little. The day I was bought out of the house the neighbors heard a faint “sayonaraaaaaaaa!!!!!” as I peeled down the street for the last time with $12k in my hand.
And then there’s the dog…
She’s the absolute best thing to come from my poor decision making skills from a decade and a half ago.
This little being has been with me through 7 moves, a number of career changes, countless relationships and becoming a momma. If this dog could talk she could tell you novels of my greatest love stories and my worst loves lost, of what it feels like to comfort me when I sob and the elation felt while sharing with me the moments of pure joy, though I know my deepest secrets are safe with her. For the last almost 15 years, she has been the most loyal protector I could have ever wanted by my side. And in the last year or so, her age has started to show. Most people who meet her would never guess she’s almost 15, but having had her in my life since I was 24, I see it. Her eyes are foggy and when she jumps on the couch or the bed she misses the first attempt, sometimes by a good foot. She doesn’t hear much anymore though I can startle her out of sleep with a loud sneeze. She would rather starve than eat dog food. At night she gets into such a deep sleep and frequently wakes up in a puddle of pee. Not mine, I promise. And when she breathes while laying down, it sounds like she’s wheezing. My old puppy, she is slowing down.
And until she tells me it’s time, that she’s done, that she is in pain or that her life is not hers anymore, with a hole in my heart I will help her with that. “But it’s not my time yet!” she tells me with her big brown eyes and wagging tail. And so we make it work.
So she won’t have to struggle, I scoop her little warm body up and place her on the couch when she needs me. I cook her dinner every night complete with ground beef, chicken or turkey mixed with scrambled eggs, cheese and rice. I’ve learned the hard way that tuna doesn’t sit well with her and if I try to sneak in peas she will strategically pick them off her plate and place them on the floor in a pattern that spells out “no thank you”. We sleep with a waterproof shower curtain atop the comforter because no amount of pee dribbles will ever deny her a warm spot in the bed. She is in the early stages of kidney disease that we are stopping in its tracks with a daily supplement along with a dose of Pepcid to ease tummy upset. And the wheezing is from an enlarged liver pressing on her diaphragm when she lays down, though she’s gotten pretty good at finding comfortable sleeping positions that momentarily make my heart stop.
My girl is old in body but still a puppy at heart. And after 15 years of her selflessly giving me the greatest love, loyalty and protection such a little being could give, I won’t ever hesitate to return the favor of making sure she’s happy and safe. Today that means occasionally hand feeding her when she wants help, giving her extra understanding and I love you’s when her body, eye sight or hearing momentarily fails her, and lightly touching her back to let her know when I’m standing right next to her while she’s desperately searching for me around the corner. We’ll see what tomorrow brings and roll with it.
My Princess, I couldn’t have asked for a better doggie. She is mine and I am hers.