I hung Mars stocking the other day. Today I was at Petsmart because I needed to restock her dog food. As I passed through the aisles I thought about her stocking. I considered what she'd enjoy. In her prime, any sort of ball would have done. Any ball, lacrosse, soccer, golf or tennis would elicit pure dog joy in her.
She doesn’t care much about balls now. She’s thirteen and a half in people years, almost 90 in dog years. She has degenerative arthritis which she compensates for by leaning a little to the right. In her prime she once ran ten miles with me. Neither of us could do that now.
Her life these days consists of getting up about four times a day, going out and walking from the back of the house to the front of the house. This is the extent of her cardio activity, except for that occasional moment when those old animal instincts get aroused. The other day she spied a young doe in the front yard. Forgetting for that brief moment her infirmities, she took off after it. Of course this was hardly a match and the deer soon disappeared into the night. Her return trip to the house was noticeably slower, leaning just a tad more to the right.
She also has enjoyed the occasional soft squeaky toy. She will work on one of these until she gets the squeaker thingy out. Once squeaky is silenced she loses interest but it does seem to make her happy, if only for that brief time. She can also play with this while lying on her bed.
Though her activity level is severely diminished she is otherwise fine. She lives in the kitchen on an LL Bean dog bed that’s right by a register. From her bed she can stare out at the backyard where, aside from the neighborhood black cat that sometimes taunts her by waltzing across the patio, it is otherwise peaceful. She still enjoys food and the thump thump of her tail against the floor is often the first sound I hear when I come downstairs in the morning.
A few months ago I wondered if she’d make it to Christmas. I should never had sold her short.
So, along with her dog food this morning, I picked up a bag of healthy treats and a penguin squeaky toy for her stocking.