I think my beloved black lab, Paddy, may be coming to the end of his life. I’m not ready. I’m not ready to come home and not have him be excited to see me, even if I was just gone to the mailbox. I’m not ready to sit on the couch and have him not come and drop his head into my lap as if to say, ‘Thank goodness, it’s about time you sat down!’. I’m not ready to have my chair all to myself again, instead of him sneaking into it every time I get up. I’m not ready for him to not be there when I pour out my heart to him and have him look at me with his soulful brown eyes as if he understands every word I’m saying (as well as the ones I won’t say).
We got him from the pound as a six inch puppy, a mass of black fur and big brown eyes. He stayed that way for about 10 minutes and then proceeded to grow and grow and grow into an 85 pound shepherd/lab mix. (My Dad took one look at the puppy and said, “Look at those feet!”) He loves having his ears cleaned and hates having his feet touched. He tolerates his sister, Molly, and loves lying in the backyard surveying his property, the breeze flapping his ears. He smiles with his mouth and his tail. Every morning for the past 13 years, he would come over and thank me for his breakfast with a head bump and a wag before he started to eat. Every single day. I’m not ready to start my days without that head bump.
I want so much for him to know how grateful I am that I got to be his Mom. I want him to know that he has given me so much more than I would ever be able to give back. I want him to know how his joy made my bad days brighter and my good days even better. I want him to know how much I looked forward to seeing his face in the window as I pulled into the driveway, tail going a mile a minute in the background. I want him to know that he has made my life better. I want him to know just how much he matters to all of our family.
Today we are going to the vet for an evaluation. He developed diabetes about six months ago and she thought we might get another year with him, if we were lucky. Lately though, he has gone blind and the arthritis has gotten worse so he can’t go down the back steps anymore. He has trouble controlling his bladder. Walking even short distances seems to exhaust him. I’m afraid of what she is going to tell us.
Those of us who have dogs know how lucky we are, we really do. All they do is give and give and give. In return, they ask for food, walks, and affection. So little to ask for all they do. And I’m not ready…