Today we said goodbye to our other dog, the old grumpy man. He was 16. We often joked about him living forever, because despite the years nothing seemed to slow him down. It's true that his face has turned white with age, but his spirit was still that of a pup (a very disobedient and ornery pup, albeit). But, despite his spirit, his body was slowly failing him. He was 16 after all.
Having senior dogs hasn't been easy. I missed the days when they were young, when they could get around with ease, when they weren't in pain, when they weren't incontinent, when they still played chase with us. I loved the docile nature that age brought with it, the sleeping at my feet, or resting their heads on my lap at peace, staying near me just to be near me. It was different, but it was nice too. If it wasn't for their bodies failing them.
In some ways, losing them hasn't been as hard as it could have been. I take comfort in the fact that they lived long and wonderful lives. They chased horses and squirrels. They swam in lakes and ponds. They ran in fields and woodlands. They ate pig ears and cookies, snuck into the trash, and chewed up their fair share of children's toy! They lived the stereotype of what a dog should do. They lived their lives to the fullest. And for that, I am so thankful.
It's weird coming home to a house devoid of barking. To see the food bowl sitting, with food still in it that will probably never be eaten (the cats have taken a liking to dog food, so we won't count that out). But what I'm saying is, to a bowl that he will never eat from again. That she will never fight with him about again. That will never be used by our dogs again. It's been such a huge era of my life, and now it's gone.
It's true, I could get another dog. But I don't want another dog. I want my dogs, I want them how they were when they were young and full of spunk. I want them when they were at the height of their youth, bursting with excitement and love. I want them when they weren't in pain. When they weren't suffering the effects of old age. I want them from when getting up and down wasn't a chore, but a given. I want them back the way they used to be.
Someday we will get another dog, but not now or anytime soon. The last few years have been so hard. It's one of those things you don't really think of when you get a puppy. You don't imagine how hard it's going to be when they can't get around anymore, when they can't control themselves anymore, or how hard it's going to be to say goodbye.
Rest well my sweet puppies.