Much as I hate cleaning up after that dog and would love to have a patio free of dog slobber (dog hair, dog FOOD...you get the idea), I AGAIN found myself taking his rickety 83 pounds (down from 95 in the zenith of his dog-manhood) to the vet for the same treatment, and choking back tears, wondering if this was the final trip for our
But no, he STILL is not dying. Maybe just his joints are. He did respond to the treatment, but not as dramatically as the frolicking pup he became when he got steroids last time. He's just old. After his shot, he was able to creakily walk the yard, with all the decorum he could muster, patiently tolerating my help. A gentleman to the end.
We know his time is short. Well, we don't know that. For all we know, ornery as he is, it could be several more years. But it is shorter.
When we got him, back when the big kids were all preschoolers, back when he was busy digging to China and chewing all the plastic toys in the back yard, we thought hazily about this, knowing he probably would not make it through their high school years. We imagined a wiser, mellower Buster who would be there for them, listening with long velvety ears and sad brown eyes. We didn't imagine that he'd be mellower because he couldn't hear very well, or because he couldn't see much at all. We certainly didn't imagine he'd have trouble walking to greet the children who had counted on his faithful, though hairy, company throughout their childhoods.
I used to scoff condescendingly at people who cried over their pets, but now, unashamedly, I'm one of them. The last three days, I've helped Buster get to his feet, and I've tried to keep him on them long enough to walk around the back yard so he can regain some muscle strength. I even brushed him yesterday. A gentleman deserves that dignity.
Here he is, on back yard patrol, in happier days.
And for the record, I do tell our kids they are going to see our pets some day in heaven. I figure the worst thing that can happen is that they are disappointed when they get there, but I don't suppose that will last long.