He huffs when he walks. He prefers to eat sitting down. He snores heavily. He wakes up in the middle of the night, barks, and gets us up to let him out so that he can sit at the fence and stare at the street.
I've been having the "Quality of Life" talk with our beloved veterinarian. We're in agreement that Habib's life is still much happier than not, but at our last visit we also agreed that his eyes are more tired.
His body is doing what aging bodies do, and I'm crying and trying to stay in love at the same time. I kiss his grey face, and have discovered that if I scratch a certain part of his body, his tail wags. How did I not know about that spot?
Helping animal lovers with grief doesn't insulate me from my own feelings about my sweet dog. It has, however, given me great respect for the process of loss and the demands of love. I feel part of a great family of lovers and grievers.
May we all take our last walks with joy and sweetness and tears.