I’ve been thinking about you growing older. We go downstairs together for breakfast, as we’ve done for such a long time. Your back legs are stiff, you climb down each step and pause before the next one down. I drink my tea and watch you eat your breakfast biscuits. I sprinkle water on them now, to soften them up for you to chew more easily. There are wees on the kitchen floor sometimes, you’ve forgotten the lifelong routine of standing at the back door to go out. In the park, meet Amy with her old dog, me with my old dog. We talk about aches and pains for us and for the dogs with their stiff legs. How there’s not much to look forward to in that department. Amy says : ” I’ll take myself to the vets when it’s all too much for me !”
Max, you are a quieter presence these days – half deaf so I have to shout – max- Max – MAX – to get your attention. You seem timid now, you follow me around. Maybe in dog packs, when you’re old and stiff, the healthy dogs leave you behind as unwanted ? Rather abruptly, it seems, I must be your carer. As with an older person, only dog years go faster, so at 14 you are as if 90 years old. Known you since you were a tiny puppy.. You chewed your posh wicker dog bed til it was a circle of sticks. On a puppy walk in the park, you sat down in wonderment to watch a flight of honking Canada geese pass over your head. In your prime, you swam, ran, chased balls, walked all day. You joined unknown families with Bar-B-Qs on the beach, followed strangers down the street, rushed into houses where the front door was open. You still bite the hoover and lawn mower as alien beings. Now I imagine you gently retreating to another place. I can still see you, touch your compact body, yet you are already travelling to your own disappearance. You are teaching me about letting go, without saying a word.
Love from your human friend x