|This is Reilly, a purebred golden retriever we adopted last February. He is now 2.5 years old. And he's fit.|
|This is Brownie, our new old dog. She is a purebred German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) and will be 14 years old in August. She's feeble.|
|We've had her less than two weeks and we love her. As I mentioned in an earlier post, she belonged to a man who passed away a year ago, the uncle of my hubby's co-worker. His daughter, for health reasons of her own, couldn't look after Brownie any more but couldn't bear to give her up to just anyone-- or to any shelter than might euthanize her. After all, senior dogs are extremely hard to place. Children want young pets. In fact, our own son Joel is having some issues with her age. Afraid to bond, I think. He nearly cries when she stumbles or falls, when she moves slowly and doesn't hear him call her. It almost makes him cry. The first day, he actually did cry that he didn't want her because she "doesn't do anything" and "she's just gonna die like Molly." His soft heart doesn't want to be broken again. (Whose does?) We've had to console him a few times and help him love her for however many days, months, or years she has left. She needs a family to love her gently, a yard to exercise in, nature to watch from the deck, a comfy bed indoors, regular meals (before, she was left on a covered screen porch, "self-regulating" with a bowl of food left out all day--not a good habit). I took her to the vet for a check-up and she has quite the diagnostic rap sheet. COPD, arthritis in her spine and every joint (she'd blown an ACL in her youth, he said), partial deafness, cataracts,a deformed larynx, decaying teeth and gingivitis. |
Sidenote: I tried not to giggle in front of the vet when, instead of calling her a GSP, he kept referring to her as a GPS. I mean, half-blind and mostly mute does not a good GPS make.
But on the upside Brownie has an athletic heart. A sweet heart. A precious heart. She is as gentle as a nap. And believe me, this old gal knows how to nap. Once in a while, Reilly joins her.
|They always flank that corner chair just like this, except now we have an orthopedic pillow for her.|
He lays down right over the air vent, smart kid. Cool in the summer, warm in the winter.
|Reilly spends most of his time refueling in other ways besides sleeping.|
|He is nothing if he's not retrieving tennis balls. He drops them on the patio and waits for the next throw.|
|Someone else waits for her next dream.|
|Or the next meal. Or a person to scratch her face. She is ticklish on her sides, but she loves to have her forehead and cheeks scratched.|
The contrast between these two dogs keeps me ever mindful of life in a fallen world. Reilly personifies
youth and vitality, athleticism, endurance. He has keen hearing and amazing eyesight. He never limps. He inhales his food and begs for more. He drinks a lot, too, but has a 10-hour bladder. He keeps learning trick after trick from that bright mind of his. Brownie, on the other hand, takes her time getting up, finding her balance and strength. She snores. She eats slowly and needs to pee every three hours.
Both of them follow me around the house like sheep follow a shepherd. Both have my heart and I will do my best to give them the unique kind of love they each need, for the rest of their lives.