A Dog’s Life

Posted by Dana Campbell, ALDF Attorney on December 3, 2009

"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."
~Roger Caras

"Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails."
~Max Eastman

"Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really."
~Agnes Sligh Turnbull

Lately I’ve been undergoing some minor medical tests, checking out parts that apparently tend to begin breaking down at my age, although this is all news to me since I feel as young as ever, and I don’t have elderly parents around to model the aging process for me. These small lapses and breakdowns seem like constant betrayals of my body against myself, which can make me mopey if I think about it much.

Jozie in the snowMirroring my experience is my faithful companion Jozie, but she seems to be handling aging much better. Being 11+ years old and a large-sized mixed-breed canine (Australian and German shepherds? Part Rhodesian Ridgeback? We’ve never known for sure, being a shelter rescue), she is certainly now in the midst of her twilight years, and her body is failing her as well, but in an accelerated manner. It’s tough to see her panting so much over small efforts, to see her back legs hang somewhat uselessly as she heavily lifts herself up or tries to lie down. We’ve built small ramps over the single steps at the front and back doors so she can get out without much trouble. Lately she paces from room to room or wanders about in the back yard, seeming to forget where she was headed or why she got up-kind of like my Grandma used to do…

And yet for all of these failings she still smiles her black-lipped smile at us, and laughs with a wag of her tail at her little pleasures like suppertime. No one can argue that it is anything but pure joy that she expresses when we let her off-leash in the open space by our house. She lopes along as best she can like the old days, doing her happy prance lifting her paws high and checking behind her frequently to make sure we are still following. And she’s laughing, always with one ear up and the other drooped over halfway.

Jozie has taught me a lot about life in our time together. I don’t know how much time she has left with us, but she’s making the most of it, and so will I.

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2 thoughts on “A Dog’s Life

  1. Michelle says:

    This choked me up. Dana and Jozie, thank you for sharing with us. I so wish our bodies could keep up with our spirits.

  2. Stacey Freed says:

    Loved reading about Jozie. They really are content until the end and we have so much to learn from them.
    Stacey