This past Sunday morning, my husband was off running 26.2 miles, which meant that I had to make my own coffee and walk the dogs. Um…rude!
The coffee making wasn’t too bad because I have one of those single-cup thingies now, which means I didn’t have to do much other than push one button. I wish you could push a button for picking up dog poop.
But, the real challenge in walking the dogs is that we have one that just turned 13 and another one that just turned 2. Their energy levels are slightly different. So are their joints. While one could easily clear a fence, the other one can barely stand up.
My husband is brave enough to take the dogs off of their leashes at the park near our house, despite Daisy (the young dog) once sending a lady over her handlebars when she ran out of the woods right onto a bike path. And the fact that, just last week, she rolled in a maggot-infested, dead rat. Side note to the hawk who drops rodents from the sky around here: Pick smaller prey.
I don’t particularly like dealing with angry bikers with head injuries nor do I want to wash maggots off of my dog…again…so, on Sunday, I took Daisy out in the yard with a ball and a ball-chucker to work off some excess energy that couldn’t be worked off with a regular walk. Also, thank you to the person who invented the tool that allows dog owners to NOT touch the slobbery ball. I love you. Really.
The entire time that Daisy was playing fetch, Blue (the old dog) was sitting at the front window, whining. I watched her pacing and crying for 20 minutes. I felt so bad, that after I took Daisy inside, I took Blue out for some one-on-one time.
Blue immediately picked up a big stick and pranced around the yard to show me that, despite being 13 years old, she’s still got it and I was quick to tell her so. There was a lot of her looking proud and a lot of me saying, “Ohhhh! Blue has a big stick! She’s a big dog!”. And, also a lot of my neighbors looking at me funny.
Then she dropped the stick and started tearing at the grass with her teeth to show me, again, that she’s still got it. I was happy to see her spunk.
A few seconds later, she found a tennis ball laying in the grass and brought it to me. I looked into her eyes and saw the puppy that I picked out 13 years ago, this month, when she was barely four weeks old and her head made her so top-heavy that she fell over. I asked, “Are you sure, girl? You want me to throw the ball?” She looked back at me, panting, her ears perked, just waiting for me to tell her to “go get it”.
I threw the ball to the back of the yard and watched as she clumsily trotted after it. Her front legs ran while her back legs stayed stiff, but she gave it her best effort.
Until she tripped on a tree root.
She landed in the mud with one hind leg facing forward and the other hind leg trapped behind her. She was doing the equivalent of the doggie-splits and couldn’t get up.
I ran to her, clasped my hands under her belly and lifted her back to her feet.
Then I crouched down in front of her and rubbed her neck, nuzzled my face close to hers and said, “See, old girl…you’ve still got it. At least Daisy can’t do that.”