Our old dog is still hanging on, and most days, I think we're doing the right thing for her. I wonder if it is the right thing for us.
Most days, she has the bright look in her eyes, the sparkle that is hers and always has been. Some days, it's not there.
She is painfully thin, though we spend our days feeding her. She's gotten very picky, knowing, I believe, that we will give her better and better stuff. Peter bought her her own already cooked chicken last week, and she ate it (we feed her by hand) pretty much all by her lonesome.
Most days, she can't get up by herself, but will exhaust herself trying, so it's become necessary for one of us to be here with her pretty much all the time. At night, this often means waking up five or six times, and staying up for hours while she paces.
Her coat is falling out, so there is no more brushing her. We cut off pieces when we have to. The vets don't know why this alopecia has happened, but it shows no sign of leaving. Kaja's once-beautiful plume of a tail is not a mostly bare rat tail.
When I write it like this, it sounds like we should euthanize her. I know it does. But then she will see me coming and take a little hopping jaunt to greet me. Or she will come over and lean against me, smiling with her eyes, as she always has. Or she will follow Jojo into the bedroom and snap at her, in play, when Jojo is too rambunctious.
She is an old girl now, unsteady and slow. Her beauty has spun to dearness, her strength to resilience, and the place she has always held in my heart has grown.
I watch the old girl walk around the yard, clearly loving the feel of the grass beneath her feet, and the smells that float on the breeze, clearly still loving her plodding explorations, and I think, not today. Not today.
And I pray that death will find her on its own, as she sleeps, one day not too far from now.
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