She warms me.
She has been at my feet all day, occasionally lifting her head to look out the window and protect me from the ever present stream of people walking to the park. She lays still until a truck rolls onto our street and she begins to shiver with fear and I feel her trembling against my leg.
She didn’t used to be scared of anything, but age is crippling her body and mind. She shakes when we say her name, “Blue” because it may mean she needs to stand, which she can no longer do without two hands below her belly, pulling her lame back legs out from under her.
Once she stands, there is hesitation when she must move from the rug to the hardwood floor. She freezes at the edge of the carpet, setting one paw down on the solid surface with trepidation, then pulling it back to safety where there is fiber in which to lunge her claws and a soft landing for when she falls. She falls a lot these days.
Maybe if we lived someplace warm, where ice wasn’t looming like a slick, glassy artifice strategically placed between the safety of the front door and the soft snow in which she used to frolic; the simple stoop, a colossal divide. Last night, she had to be carried to the grass; even when the sky was clear and the earth was dry.
She has been here longer than the child who is about to be a teen. She is our constant. Through pain, sickness, death and tragedy she has been here at my feet.