Sometimes I think if dogs could talk, they’d be the voice of reason once they became old. My dog has recently slowed right down. She’s six now, and all the puppy is gone from her. She’ll still run and play and get excited, but you can tell she’s different because she’s slow and contemplative. The grey slowly creeps up her snout and between her eyes, and she cares less and less about the commotion going on around her. I used to look at her like that friend who’s down for anything, but now, I look to her to see if she’s interested. Car rides and walks will peak her ears, but the classic old, “who’s that?” doesn’t fool her anymore. She’s officially too old for that shit.
When we’re talking Bassett hounds, which we are (because you’re reading Fat Dog, not Poofy Dog or Slim Dog), the life expectancy is between ten and twelve years—I keep saying we’re at halftime now, and I hope I’m right. Since I moved out of the house, I’m becoming keenly aware that I’m missing a large part of my dog’s life. Right now, I’m 29, that’s 348 months (to the over-bearing mother). Sali is 6, which is only 72 months. Sixty days for her represents 3% of her entire life, where as it’s barely over half of one percent for me.
Throughout her life, I will probably change very little in her eyes. We humans are next to eternal to the dogs in our lives, and being the empathetic creatures that they are, I cannot believe that it goes unnoticed. I have seen wonder in my dog’s eyes at food, fear at the sight of water and exasperation at the sight of me (a sight that has been sorely few and far between lately). The range of emotion I’ve seen this Basset experience has elevated my own experiences and has given me a new outlook on a lot of things. She needs me so innately and completely, that to treat her with anything but the utmost care is disrespect. She did not choose to be taken from her family, and now that she’s settled into the domestication of Stockholm syndrome, I have to uphold my end of the bargain and give her a happy life. Anything else is betrayal, plain and simple.
I don’t know what got me on this track tonight, I guess it’s just the loose change that the magnet of the blank page attracted, but I’m glad. I’m about to see Sali, and I feel like I’m never able to see her in the way that I need to. We’ve always been at the park, or at my place (which is so unfamiliar, she doesn’t stop with that nose). Today I’m finally going back to the house that I left, her turf. She’ll finally be relaxed enough to see me with her full attention, and I can’t wait. I have to pack a bottle of spray and a cloth for my glasses because of how filthy they get. I’m all about them puppy mouth-kisses. I can’t wait to squish her big dumb adorable face.
See you tomorrow.