We’re spreading straw on the street outside Chez Maxfield because our beloved Pepper, the Lab who has been a part of our lives for nearly fourteen years, is not doing well.
(Euphemisms aren’t my strong suit.)
This is the first time I’ve ever experienced this outside of fiction, and I’m feeling a little blue about it. I think my family expects me to be the one to say, “It’s definitely time.” But as with people, these old-age problems seem to go in fits and starts. Just when we’ve had a very bad night and I think, “its definitely time,” she’ll perk up for a bit. Maybe she can read my mind.
I’m feeling the pressure of responsible stewardship.
We’ve always been super lucky to have Pepper with us. She’s a one-of-a-kind shelter find. Loving, loyal, and unafraid to be around my rambunctious offspring. She makes a TERRIBLE watch dog because she’ll welcome anyone into our house just for scratches. Team of men wearing balaclavas and carrying assault rifles? Come right in! What’s in your pockets? Anything nummy?
And for years, we’ve joked that Pepper isn’t very bright. But then we realized how really, really well she has us trained. Once Pepper emits the soft half-bark that lets us know it’s suppertime or that she needs someone with thumbs to open the back door, we get up, do whatever she wants, and wait to be told we can go back to our lives.
She singlehandedly (swinglepawedly?) abolished Daylight Savings Time by ignoring it for the last several years. She eats and pees at the appointed time, no matter what the clock says.
These days she stands at the bottom of the stairs and looks over her shoulder expectantly. No way does Pepper scale those stairs alone. What if there’s no one up there when she gets there? Lately, we’re all on board with walking up with her. Half the time we end up staying wherever she is, just to keep her company.
And it’s not the case that we’ve spoiled her, either. She really is the most convenient dog, as long as we maintain the status quo. Her needs have been very few. Mostly she enjoys finding a nice, comfortable spot from which to feel superior to us.
At least that’s what we think she’s doing. If she’s got anything else on her mind she hasn’t said.
I’m going to miss her. She’s a member of our family. My husband and kids are gutted about this.
This is one of those times being the mom isn’t the easiest job.
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