“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “to speak of many things”… some that bruise.
My chronicle of The Little Bear’s adventures won’t be complete without the beginning of his story’s end.
Life is the circle of creation and destruction and Shiva’s foot will not stay up forever. The dance will end.
The great joy of a young wild ruffian dog gave way to the sweet spot where (human) beast and dog sync utterly and neither is complete without the other. The mutual clairvoyance becomes rapture.
Such a gift was ours.
Many wonderful years passed.
His muzzle turned grey.
His hips became an issue, like father, like son. White Willow Bark, Devil’s Claw and Glucosamine seemed to hold that demon at bay for a while.
He started growing deaf. We switched to sign language.
His eyes began growing an opaque film. Antibiotic eyedrops help preserve his vision but he comes and wishes me to cover his eyes with my hand. They bother him.
His walking is now growing wobbly and awkward.
The stairs sometimes take several attempts.
Most of this year he continued to try a “jump”… onto a rock, a short embankment or to lie on my bed. It was hard to watch him fail. He sometimes hurt himself badly. He finally abandoned the effort.
It was bittersweet. He sometimes puts a front paw on the edge of something tall and looks at me. He knows I will help.
He still wants a morning walk and we go. We stick to long memorized paths and when he lags I wait. If he forgets where I am I go to him.
My neighbors recently fenced their yard. If we visit, he is glad to be going home again and goes to the spot in the fence we used to travel. I coax him toward the open gate 10 feet away.
I recently resealed my brick floor. It was shiny. It also made traction for old dog legs impossible. I quickly stripped the shine away. He can get up again.
There is nothing new about every life having a beginning, middle and end. It is not a fresh observation that we celebrate beginnings and mourn endings. It is not novel to think it the companionship we lose, we mourn.
I accept my own inevitable death as the predestined completion of my journey.
I will mourn completing that journey without a dearly loved irreplaceable friend.
The mourning needs to wait, though I already feel him leaving. For the moment I am busy drinking in his scent and providing for his needs. I am bound by love to show him to the gentlest easiest end I have it my power to do. For now I will hold, and hold onto my “Little Bear”.
He has had a long and good life. For a short while longer he is by my side.