A Dog’s Life

Yesterday morning dawned bright and extremely smelly. I will spare you the disgusting details, but suffice it to say that my old Dal had an accident that transformed my home into what seemed like a cesspool. If the DirtyJobs camera crew from the Discovery Channel had been here, they would have had a field day.

I found a two-year-old video of him and sat amazed as I realized just how much he’s aged since we’ve been back in Texas. Quite frankly, the realization broke my heart. In the video, he was spry and alert. I called his name, and his ears pricked up and that tail started wagging. We used to call it a whip because that’s what it was!

He isn’t the same doggy anymore. His spine sticks out. His hips look deformed. All his major body organs are still working great, except for his brain and his bones. His heart is ticking just fine. His stinky accidents are proof positive that the plumbing works just fine, his lungs are clear, his blood work looks normal. But he’s not.

The veterinarians have a technical name for what ails him. It’s called cognitive dysfunction syndrome, and it is similar to Alzheimer’s Disease.

For now, he knows who I am. For now, he loves to be with me. He is with me, and yet he is not. The next few months will be so difficult as we do whatever we can to make him comfortable. We have the vet’s approval to take him off the prescription dog food he’s been on for the past eight years. It’s her medical opinion that we’re looking at months rather than years —

Months. Not years.

Tears are welling up as the reality of those words hits home. Will this be my last Christmas with my best doggy friend?

So I’m giving him whatever he wants to eat. Pringles? Sure! How about a bite of steak? You bet. I want his last days to be full of everything wonderful from a dog’s point of view.

I can’t write anymore about this today. But I do have a short story I wrote last year. It’s written from his point of view. If you read it, you’ll get a glimpse of his personality. At least the way he’s been most of his life. The way I want to remember him.

Here’s to you, sweet boy!


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