Slow Walking

We have another dying dog here.

Our beloved Minnie is on her last legs. She stumbles going around corners and down stairs, her back legs weak and spindly, sometimes going in the direction opposite her destination. It’s awful to watch.

On top of that, she has an ever-increasing dent on the right side of her head, the consequence, the vet said, of some neurological event which paralyzed that side of her face. As the muscles in her head and face atrophy, the dent deepens. She is still beautiful, this dog, despite all this.

Our old girl has an aura of patience and forbearance, tolerance and peace. And loyalty. She will always find where we are and lie down. She will wag her tail at the prospect of a walk and so we walk around the block slower than one might with a baby just learning to take her own steps.

So we are wrestling with the prospect of putting her down which we know we have to do and probably should have already done because we are treating her the way my grandmother treated her 99-year old mother, smoothing all the creases from her wrinkled sheets every twenty minutes.

A dying dog is a sad thing. But there are 10,000 sad things on any given day. This one is hardly the most tragic, it’s just the culmination of the relentless passage of time which, I suppose, is itself tragic if you’re in a mood to think of it that way.

I miss the young Minnie, the Minnie who ran on the beach and could fetch a stick in Lake Superior’s waves and bring it back to the shore holding it in her mouth like a cigar. I loved that dog, that fearless, quiet, sweet dog who swam in water just freed from the spring ice.

Who are we talking about here? You or the dog?

I don’t know what you mean.

You’re old enough to know that old dogs die.

Of course. It’s not my first rodeo.

Maybe it is. I guess it’s all about how you think about it.






12 Comments on “Slow Walking

  1. It’s so hard to watch a beloved dog or cat grow older and more infirm. It’s even harder knowing that one day soon we have to make “the decision.” Holding you in my thoughts.


  2. I think with our dogs, it’s ALWAYS the first rodeo. We have passed through many departures and each one hurts as much as the last, but we don’t talk about it much because most of our friends have gone and are going through the same things with their dogs and friends and cats and lives.

    Smooth sheets as long as you can and as long as Minnie seems to enjoy what she has of life. When that is done, it’s time. But of course, you know that. I am preaching to the choir.


  3. Such a hard choice to face. She is a beautiful girl, for sure. Sounds like she is still getting some pleasure from life so it isn’t just you you are thinking of. You’ll know when the time has come. Glad for now that you are enjoying your time together.

    Liked by 1 person

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