Wednesday, September 07, 2016
More often than usual she comes and stands beside me. Even as I type this. She presses her head against my knee, my thigh. Solidarity. She's always done this. Even in a dog park. She'd frolic for a while with the others and then come back to me and press her head against me, often briefly, and then gallop off again. Telling me secrets, sharing the adventure.
She had a way of jumping lightly on the sofa if I lay down with a book, she'd stretch herself along the length of it between me and its back and lay her head just so on my shoulder, staring at me. "What is this thing called book?" I'd explain to her as best I could about this static thing that stared back at me, that held mysteries and inspiration and deep thoughts and humour and thrills. "Not as interesting as a dead fish on a beach," she'd sigh and wait patiently for me to get a move on to the great outdoors.
Her jumping days are gone. She was always the most graceful of dogs. Her movements almost balletic. Her days of going upstairs are gone. Her bed long moved to the front hall where she can keep an eye on everything.
She doesn't smile anymore. I know, silly, fanciful perception of a dog. But yes, she did have this incredible happy grin as if the world was full of endless delight and her human companion a joy to behold every minute of the day.
She followed me up to the meadow a few days ago and watched me hanging out the sheets to dry.
And somehow, I knew in the heart of me that this would be the last time she'd ever do this. Her smile was missing. I don't know what enormous effort it took her to go up the meadow. Herculean, I imagine. Her pace slow and agonizing.
She gets stuck in weird places now, behind the woodstove, the back deck, wedged in corners she never so much as looked at before. Standing for over a minute she has to sit down, take a rest.
But still, she comes to stand beside me, often tucking her head up tight against me.
"It's time, old girl," I said to her this morning, "You're confirming my thoughts".
She pressed harder.
"I'll be with you, I'll hold you and sing you your song, and kiss you and rub your gorgeous belly and listen to your secrets one last time."