When I came home today, I let the dogs out and then they lined up for treats. It's a bit of a hard go outside for Madison J. Dog, our sixteen year old dachshund/beagle mix. The back legs work but not as well as they did, and even the couple stairs outside need to be taken slowly, coming and going. She loves snuffling around in the yard and came loping in when I called. But neither the eyes or the nose are quite what they were, and so I pretty much have to lay the treats in my open hand and let her pick them out carefully. Even putting them on the floor doesn't help; they need to be closer.
And that's the life we lead. Of course, I remember when. I remember when she first joined me in 2001 in Athens. She ran a complete circuit of the house, leaped up on the bed, and snoozed. I remember that during the nightly Finnemurph long distance calls, I'd often hold out the phone so Cara could hear the Battle of the Titans, my two little dogs wrestling, growling, and barking. I remember that she loved walking 2, 3, 4 times a day if she could wheedle it.
She still loves to walk, when it's decent weather, just a bit more slowly and not nearly so far. She still puts the other dog--now Alice--in her place, just more quietly and rarely. She still rounds the house, just a lot more carefully. We try to carry her up and down the big stairs, but she's tricky and often sneaks up or down when we're not looking. We've always joked that she's a "self-contained Madison emotional unit," yet she's now decided that laps aren't all that bad. Actually quite comfortable on occasion. She sleeps a lot.
But she's still the dog who pretty much saved me back when. And still does most every day in her own inimitable way. And so on we go. I know the time is likely short. I treasure it all the more. Twilight has its joys.