Friday, March 26, 2010
So I'm off to Dublin in just a few days now and while I'm looking forward to it last week a situation reared its ugly head that had me a little concerned.
It was Friday night and the old fellow had not really looked right since I'd been home. He'd thrown up overnight and had done so the day before as well and he just wasn't himself. Listless is probably how I'd describe him. Even as he has aged, and he has aged quite a bit this winter, he has not lost his essential dogginess. He is cheerful and he is affectionate and he hovers outside of the dining room waiting for the baby to declare that supper is over by tossing the remnants of her food onto the floor, whereupon the cleaning staff (him) rushes in and does its duty.
But for a couple of days he had been doing nothing but laying by the door, which is his normal spot and activity, but no welcome was there from him for me when I came home, no bated breath waiting for the splat of chicken on the hardwood, no wagging tail for any of the kids. His breathing had become pronounced when he slept and at night I could no longer hear him wandering the main floor as he often does.
And so as he lay there on the kitchen floor I sat down beside him and rubbed his greying head and even then, no happy wag, no lean into my hand, no contented sigh.
And so I sat with him and held him for a while.
The next morning I came down to find him panting heavily. We walked into the kitchen and he stood beside his water dish, which was full.
For five minutes this went on as I asked him to please have a drink. Nothing.
I walked over and picked up the water dish and dumped it and filled it and then he acted as if I had just filled an empty dish except he took one lap and then stopped.
My wife came home from work and I told her I was worried and she said that he's been dying for three years now goddamnit and I told her to just keep an eye for the next ten minutes and after that she looked at me and then she went over and gave him a pat on the head and she looked at me and said, oh, poor old Ben.
And then being practical she asked what would happen if he passed while I was away. He's tipping the scales at around seventy five pounds and we live fifteen steps up from the street and unless she was going to launch him from the porch on a toboggan she was going to have an issue.
Not to worry I assured her and I emailed a buddy of mine down the street with what is certainly one of the weirdest favours he's ever been asked but he's a good guy and so he agreed that if worse came to worse he'd come over and help dispose of the big fellow's earthly remains.
Now I'm happy to relay that it must have just been a flu or perhaps he just had a bad couple of days or maybe he got a hold of some bad cheese because he's turned it around and he's back in the canine saddle if there was such a thing. Last night he slurped some succotash that had tumbled to the floor and after dinner we walked down the street and while his top speed these days is a fast walk he did manage that and he got up those stairs besides, all the while his tail a wagging and sure enough when we came into the house, both of us dumb grins a mile wide, the wife looked over and sighed and said, three years, three years.
So things are back to normal and while everytime the boy mentions the August birthday when the old man turns thirteen he throws in the caveat 'if he makes it', it definitely looks better than it did a week ago and here's hoping that warm summer air loosens up those old bones and puts a spring back into that step at least for a little while.
Have a great weekend everybody.
Posted by Black Dog at 2:15 PM