Friday, April 1, 2011

Plant, Dog, Child: Step 2 Will Take Longer Than Expected.

You need to keep a plant alive before you should get a dog. You need to keep a dog alive before you should have a child. I heard that somewhere. I don't know where. Even if you don't take it literally it is about taking more responsibility. Nick and I have two dogs and up until a few days ago, I thought we were doing a great job taking care of the boys, now I feel like a terrible parent.

Duke is the older of our two canines. He is a 15 year old West Highland Terrier (westie). His personality is that of a sweet, stubborn, old man. He's content sitting on the deck with his face to the sun and although his hearing is fine, he'll ignore you if he's not ready to come in when called.

In the few years that we have had the boys, Duke's age has started to show itself. He is still happy and loving, wagging his tail and cuddling when he sees fit but he has weird spots on his body, he gets sick easily, and his vision is fading. A while back I started doing vision tests with him, holding food in front of him or waving my hand. His left eye is all white and his right eye maybe has partial vision.

With the thought that he could not really see and that we've been living in subzero temperatures, we let his hair grow out. We let his bangs fall in his face. We let a beetles like shag take over his head and fall into his eyes.

It has been sad watching our clumsy old man trip around that house. He really is getting old and I need to be honest with myself that as his visions get worse, daily tasks will get harder.

Earlier this week, with a break in cold temperature, I decided he was overdue for a haircut and clipped away a pile of hair almost the same size as him and gave him a bath. It was nice to see his sweet brown eye(s) again.

Since the cut and the bath, he has a new spring in his step. He has no trouble finding the back door and even though he's still really slow, he no longer is nervous about going up and down stairs. Turns out the hair cut was the cause of his expedient aging and not the cataracts. He's still our little old man but we need to not look at his age and think that he's any worse that he is.

Sorry Duker. I see a lot of walks and doggy ice cream in your future as Nick and I try to apologize for your bad haircut.

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