I went to buy dog food the other day and it dawned on me that all my dogs are officially seniors. I have a total of three. I have the loaner dog that my ex-hubby abandoned with me probably a year ago. And then I have my two personal dogs.
I got my German Shepherd, Athena, when she was five weeks old. I got her from a back yard breeder. I didn’t know the difference back then. I just knew the lame little story they gave me about her mom not wanting to feed the pups anymore. And when I saw her I was immediately in love. I probably paid too much for her even though I talked them down about $400. But I didn’t care that I was overpaying. She came with AKC papers, which also meant nothing to me because I already knew I would have her fixed and would not be breeding her.
About a year later, I got Zeus. He was 9 months old when he ended up in my house. Someone had given him to my friend. My friend was basically homeless and the dog was being chained up outside and was sleeping on concrete, which I am not OK with. His name was Blue when I got him. But I didn’t like it and Zeus kind of sounded the same so I figured he wouldn’t know or care. And he didn’t. He only cared that he was sleeping in the house and was allowed in the bed and on the couch. Which in hindsight was a terrible mistake. Because now he’s the size of a small man and takes up the whole side of my bed when I do let him sleep with me. But he was only supposed to be temporary. Until I spent almost $500 at the vet and I got him fixed too along with shots and all the other good stuff that comes along with having dogs. And then the guy who was supposed to keep him decided he didn’t want to pay the vet bill nor did he want a dog he couldn’t breed, but the dog had bad hips and you can’t ethically do that so I just took care of the problem before it arose. Although he is beautiful and would have made beautiful pups.
Athena has started getting grey around her muzzle. And Zeus has hips that bother him after he’s run around like a puppy for too long. Athena got loose two years ago. On the fifth of July, one of the neighbors was setting off fireworks. I wasn’t home. The window was open just a tad. She opened it the rest of the way and jumped out. I guess the fireworks scared her and she ran away from the sound. She was gone for about 24 hours. Maybe a little more.
I bawled my eyes out for almost the whole time. I made flyers. I drove around. I posted an ad on craigslist. And then I sat on the couch and cried and cried and cried and cried. I didn’t even know how much she meant to me until that day. I found her 3 miles away and she’s never tried to leave again.
Of course, I knew I loved her, but that was not the actual plan when I got her. I got her because Mel had been bitten by a dog a couple years earlier and he was terrified of dogs. I got her so he would get over his fear of dogs. I got a German Shepherd because they are protective and they are big and their lifespan is only about ten years or so.
In my mind, when Mel turned 18, Athena would have just turned 10. By time Mel was leaving for college or at least shortly after, she would be dead, Mel would be gone. I’d literally have an empty nest– minus the empty nest syndrome.
Zeus wasn’t even part of the plan. And Asia… the loaner dog who never left… she definitely wasn’t part of the plan.
So now I have 3 senior dogs at my house. They don’t act old or dying. Well, my two don’t. Asia will probably die soon. She’s 11 or 12 and she does act old and lately she’s been very clingy to me. And when I think about having to put her down or waking up and finding her dead at my feet, it makes me even more sad that I’m going to lose my other dogs one day not so long from now too.
I knew it was morbid when I got the dogs to be halfway counting down to their deaths, but now that it is a reality, sometimes I sit and hope that they just live forever, because even though I’ll probably be sad when my last child moves out, I won’t be heartbroken, because he will still be alive and I will still be able to call him whenever I want and see him whenever I want.
When the dogs are gone, I won’t have anyone to paw me in the face in the morning or to steal my pillow or to slurp water out of the toilet at 2 in the morning waking me up in a screaming frenzy. Actually, when I put it like that, maybe it wasn’t so morbid of me to plan their deaths around my kiddo growing up. Because those things are really annoying, but I also won’t have anyone to greet me when I walk in the door and I won’t have anyone to come put their head on my lap when I’m bawling my eyes out for some reason.
And since my friends refuse to believe that I even know how to cry, I’ll be forced to call them and ugly cry on video chat and they won’t be close enough for me to pet them or for them to lay their heads on my lap. And since I’m pretty terminally single, I doubt there will be anyone else around either.
Ugh. It’s such a depressing thought for a Friday.
All of that to say this– my dogs are getting old and I don’t feel like I’ve aged a bit since I got them, but I guess I’m getting old too. I didn’t even know what “THOTTIN OFF” was today. I still don’t. Because I’m old. Maybe the dogs know. But they won’t tell me, because I keep calling them old and they’ve stopped talking to me.
So love your dogs, they’re gonna die one day. And hug your kids, because you’re gonna blink and they are going to gone. And even though it’s probably too early for wine… it’s friday… Soooo……. if not now, when?
Have a great weekend!!