Thirteen years ago, I was a young pup. I was strong, bouncy, full of life.
I played and I ate and I barked and slept. I grew every day. My feet were too big for my body, but I grew still.
I turned into a handsome young fella. With eyes and ears that missed nothing. I saw strangers at the gate and I let my mistress know through my bark what kind of stranger it was. I knew friend from foe.
Then, we moved house. My mistress was very sad. She cried all the time. I knew the kind of sadness she had was bone deep. I realised that it could not be soothed by my jumping and running. so I just sat with her, quiet-like. Just let her know I’m there. I could not speak to her, or wipe the tears from her face, but she held me. She cried into my neck, my fur wet with her sadness. I let her. See, it was my job to be there for her, in any way she needed me.
The years moved along, as years do. We added a rascal to the family – these days I can see he’s straining at the bit to become the alpha dog… Just a while young pup. You’ll get your chance anon. Just hang in there. We lost a few members. Patrash and Morgan that was poisoned and buried in the back garden where they could always be close.
And then the infernal cats my mistress insisted on having around. Well, I saw to them chop-chop! Can’t have these wily felines all over the place, I will not tolerate that!! Alas, these days, I’m not as quick as I once was. Can’t seem to garner the energy needed to get these old bones riled up because of a feline. Easier to just let them be, albeit with a glare in their direction every so often.
Mind you, these days, everything is slowing down. I can’t seem to do as much as I could. And my hips just does not want to play the game. Always giving out at the most inopportune moments! I can’t walk as fast as I once could. Can’t run, and jumping, well forget about that! I’ve been steadily going deaf this past year or so. And I can’t see as well as I could. I miss those days.
The days when I was a handsome dog, alert to any and all, able to protect my mistress and my pad with everything I had. The days we could still go for a walk, and I could sniff every letter left me by all the other neighbourhood dogs. The times when I could still hear the noise on those few nights of the year when humans seemingly go mad. My mistress would let me lie next to her chair, keeping me safe for a change.
I know my mistress is sad at seeing me deteriorate. I can see it in her eyes when she’s close enough. I feel it in her touch. Almost reverent. Her thank you for all the years I’ve been there for her. A thank you for all the alone time she’s had to endure with only my company.
I know she feels that she’s letting me down by making the decision to end my life. I wish I could tell her that it’s all right. That I’ve had a good life. That she’s done me well by keeping me with her. That making me suffer the way I am now is worse for both of us. I know she hurts every time I lose my balance. I know she feels sorry for what I’ve turned into in my old age.
I also know that she loves me. That I’ve become a big part of her life, and with me gone, there will be an empty space that will always belong to me and only me.
It’s OK mistress. you can let me go. I’m ready…
This then a good bye to my Old Man, Sasha. He’s been a good companion for me for the past thirteen years. I just can’t bear seeing him like he is now. He used to be so strong and able and agile. Now he’s but a shadow of that handsome fella. I saw blood in his stool on Tuesday. I think it would be better for me to end both our suffering now, while there’s still something to be salvaged, both for him and myself.
So, come Saturday morning, we will all load him in the car and go to the vet. I will get back his ashes, and I will plant a bright yellow rose on the ashes. A better friend I will go far to find.