Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Winding Down



The flesh and blood time machine that Jake's canine soul has inhabited during this incarnation moves at a much quicker pace than my homo sapien time machine.

It's so bizarre to think of him, not that long ago by my standards - a dozen years or so - as a fiery, fierce and gorgeous puppy, playing hard, running hard, barking his ass off at every little thing. It was almost impossible to wear him out. Even as recently as three or four years ago, he was still on the prowl whenever and wherever, tail held high.

About a year ago he began cutting our daily walks short. He would just stop at Unity Church and demand to go back home. I pronounced him "geezer" at that point.

These days he doesn't want to walk at all, ever. I have to push him out the door. Maybe he's not seeing that well anymore, because being outside scares him, especially when he first walks out the door. If I push and insist, he will finally relent and walk with me, and I always say I told you so when he enjoys himself. He's saggy and bumpy, his tail hangs low, and he squats instead of lifting a leg these days.

This is a bittersweet time. Every day I lavish him with love, as if I'll never see him again. I'm extra mindful, extra gentle when giving him his geriatric doggie massage. He's taking an aspirin every day for his arthritis, marshmallow root and Golden Seal for his dodgy stomach, condroitin for his achy joints, Rescue Remedy for his nervousness.

Of course there's no herb or treatment can cure him of old age. But I love tending him. Taking care of Jake here in his last days is hugely emotional, and extremely good. I love my dog.

17 comments:

Barbara said...

Enjoy your time together. I hope his final time is not painful. It's very hard to see them go. I know.

Adrianne said...

Jake is incredibly lucky to have a person who can greet his decline with such tenderness, grace, and strength.

rothko said...

Boo-hoo. Even though Honey is just a pup, I'm always thinking about the fact that this day will probably arrive for Honey in another decade or so. (I know, I know, I'm so positive, right?) Anyway, it makes me more patient when she digs holes in the back yard.

Squirrel said...

has he been to the eye doctor lately? He may just need glasses.

Cyndy said...

It's so difficult to watch a pet slow down as they age. They seem to know when their time is winding down and are extra appreciative of the love and encouragement that you give them. I really miss my cat Ted. He passed away about a year ago. He was 18 years old.

Pam said...

It sounds like you are doing a great job.I wish more people were 'mindful' and as for 'extra mindful', well that's just wonderful.

Reya Mellicker said...

THanks to all for these loving thoughts. I'm hoping Jake will perk up when fall arrives. The damp heat isn't so good for him, and even though it's been a mild summer, he still feels the season. I'm hoping for another year with my sweet old geezer. Of course the timeline is completely out of my hands!

Reya Mellicker said...

Ted is a great name for a cat.

Lynne said...

Reya, I certainly hope it's just a very gradual downward turn for Jake. t's so hard to watch a beloved pet go geriatric on you.

Maybe you're right, summer has just got him down a bit. We all have seasons that are harder on us, why can't pertain to dogs too? I Let's hope it's just a passing thing.

Hailey and Alex are sending licks and butt sniffs to Jakey. May the force of dogdom be with him for a long while yet!

Lynne said...

sorry, rereading my post I seem to left out a few things... sigh...hopefully you can still make sense of it ...

kob said...

Thinking of you and Jake ...

k-brow said...

I've felt, my whole life with Ella, that losing her was part of my contract with the Universe. You're right; these ARE bittersweet days, with with the canine companions. We've lost a number of dog friends the past year. May Sir Jake's dotage be sweet and mellow and may you savor every minute you share.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

This makes me want to cry, remembering my last days and months with my two old men. Cherish it all well, Reya and know that he'll be with you always, anyway. Mine still like to lie on the bed. :-)

mouse (aka kimy) said...

hugs to you and jake - I hope jake surprises you and he has more years ahead than days. one never knows. love is an amazing thing and jake loves you even more than you love him and I know that adds days to a life!!

tut-tut said...

Yes, the heat and humidity are hard on animals. Soul seemed very out of it this morning. Bit worrisome. Let's hope some cooler autumn air will perk everyone up.

The Liberator said...

he looks sweet, and it's nice that you lavish attention on him.

Lori Witzel said...

Made me recall the autumn and then winter of Lil' Queenie and Missus McGillicuddy. They did not go gentle. I still miss them.

We have three other cats, lovely silly cats, and I still miss Missus and Queenie. I guess the lesson I took is to love 'em while you gots 'em.