Last Call

I know they’ll be a day.
When her sun no longer shines.
The vet’s options will be few.
I will read between the lines.

Until then I promise love.
Gentle hugs and belly rubs.
Tasty treats with extra meat.
Till that last call from above.

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Our morning light

It’s dark and misty gray outside my window, with a November sky beyond.

Except it’s only September.

As I struggle to open my eyes, I find I’m unable to see the clock due to this heavy drape of morning gloom.

I’m guessing it’s somewhere between 3am and 9am as Maddie, as my lame senior corgi, continues to converse with me through gentle, muffled barks from the kitchen.

My other two pups continue to sleep and snore, until they hear me open the squeaky gate to the kitchen where Maddie looks up to greet me with a smile.

She’s comfortably centered on her dog bed anticipating a visit to the backyard
and her first bite of today’s kibble.

Terrier Tuck, and Rex, my renegade chihuahua, slowly trot their way in to join us.

I turn on the light and discover it’s 6:30. It’s time for all of us to get a move on, and for me to get ready for work.

After a spin around the yard, we return to the kitchen where I watch Maddie devour her morning meal with gusto. Tuck and Rex soon follow her lead.

I note what a happy girl is Maddie, be her hopping around the grass with her remaining two good legs or enjoying that breakfast.

It’s as if Maddie has a message for us all: “Savor each gift, and every moment.”

Maddie then licks her mouth after the last bite and returns to the middle of her checkered dog bed for a nap and a snoring session.

I smile with admiration as I look down at her, thinking how she keeps us all centered.

And how she brings such light every day to our lives.

Though simple gifts, what special ones both truly are.

Dignity, with a dose of joy

Grief is a funny thing.

Or maybe not.

You think you’ve got proper protection then something bites you in the backyard.

Just like a big old mosquito.

I was outside playing with the dogs tonight when I got stung.

There laying on the freshly cut grass before me was my loving corgi Maddie. My girl’s close to 14 now and she was looking lethargic with her head down on the ground.

One of Maddie’s backlegs is lame, and now the second seems to be slowing down as well.

I joined her on my stomach anyway right next to her, and started snapping pictures.

But that usual magical spark was missing in Maddie’s eyes which was bringing me down even lower.

My girl’s expression reminded me of the words my paternal grandmother shared with me in her eighties.  “It’s hell getting old,” Grandma would often say before she passed from Alzheimer’s a few years later.

I stopped and thought for a moment about about those I’ve lost in in my life, particularly in the last 3 or 4 years.

There once was a mother, one husband, and three sweet senior dogs.

Mom, my spouse Richard, and even one of the dogs had dementia. And yet they all managed to keep happy in spite of their illnesses.

Perhaps even happier than my late corgi Mariah and chi-doxie Greta who held on to their cognitive skills till the day each of them passed on.

I began to scratch Maddie’s soft belly for a while to calm her and to calm me.

Suddenly a mourning dove began to croon on the weathered fence post behind us, but it wasn’t a sad song at all.

Then a monarch darted and danced right past Maddie’s black nose demanding her attention before taking off for the barbecue next door.

Soon I saw joy and dignity return to Maddie’s face.

And I felt a growing smile on mine as my camera hooked just the shot I was looking for.

It’s definitely a keeper.