Sunday, August 10, 2008
Lucky, in the Autumn of her Years
Recently I've been taking "Lucky", my aging 15-year-old black lab, with me more and more — in the car, "riding shotgun". She loves getting out — being with me in the car — and I have been taking every excuse to bring her along. Who knows if she has any idea where we're going? She gets excited and knows as soon as I begin planning our weekly trip to "the dump"; it's a perfectly fine destination as far as she's concerned. It's a noble pursuit; worthy of her dutiful attention.
This weekend when I took Lucky with me "off on an errand", I noticed that (again) I had to lift her up to help her get into the car. Her legs just aren't strong enough to make that jump up any more. But once she was in her seat she took her stand, held her ground firmly as the car swerved, and resolved to keep herself as much as she could at the top of her game — watching out over everything that passes, making sure that the world is as it should be.
Even though we both know that's not true.
Lucky is failing. Sometimes, it seems she's failing fast. She is still eating, though not as much these days. Her keen sense of hearing has long gone, though she still comes if you call her persistently and loudly enough. And she's been losing weight for about 18 months, though only very gradually. She is pretty much capable of getting up the steps from the garage into the house, though she doesn't come up the stairs inside the house — up into the computer room where I am — except when she's been lonely long enough downstairs alone that she figures it'll be worth the trek. But either way, she doesn't seem to be in any pain, and I like to think she's happy… though I've noticed that her tail's not wagging when she comes into the house in the morning, unlike always in the past.
I guess I have to admit that it seems like Lucky knows her days bound to this Earth are numbered… though she's not about to allow that to make any difference to her presence — the vivacious spirit that she always brings. Lucky continues to live every day as though it were her last, determined to teach us all to do the same.