It’s 4am, and I’m on the laundry room floor loving an old dog. It’s very different from loving a young dog, which—if I remember correctly from all those years ago—was a whole lot simpler, full of laughter and floppy cuddles, sparked by silliness and spunk and personality.
Loving an old dog is more complicated, and it comes with all the feels.
Loving an old dog like this wrinkly, wobbly gal means…
🤍 Wondering if in the process of forgetting where the steps are or how to find her water bowl or which way is the door, if she has forgotten you too.
🤍 Crying tears of thankfulness that she’s still here…and crying tears of dread for when she’s not.
🤍 Praying that when she passes, it’ll be painless, peaceful, in her sleep, curled up on a soft bed.
🤍 Hoping that you get a chance to say goodbye, even though you know that you’ll never be ready for it.
🤍 Mixing special food and inventing crazy concoctions, anything at all that might entice her to eat.
🤍 Making cushy beds in safe places, cozy and comfy, low enough that she can still climb in them, high enough to cradle her old bones.
🤍 Changing diapers and cleaning up accidents, trying your best to keep her clean, dry, and comfortable.
🤍 Worrying you’re not doing enough to retain her dignity or to honor all she’s given you.
🤍 Missing the companion she once was, back when time and inertia had yet to take their toll.
🤍 Respecting the sweet dog she’s grown into—kind and good hearted despite the frailty and discomfort of advanced age.
🤍 Wondering if you were grateful enough, present enough, or patient enough back then.
🤍 Wondering if you are grateful enough, present enough, or patient enough right now.
🤍 Seeing her struggles and feeling guilty for wanting her to stay a little longer.
🤍 Wishing you could turn back time and have her all over again from the very beginning.
14 years ago, it really didn’t occur to me that loving a young dog meant slowly letting go of an old dog. But it doesn’t matter, because I wouldn’t change a thing anyway. From young to old and every minute in between, she has been more than I anticipated and certainly more than I deserve. And one day, when she is no longer with me, I will want this exact moment back.
But, thankfully, today is not that day. She is still here, and I still have another chance to love her in real time. So, I’ll change another diaper, and after I do, I’ll sit on the floor beside her bed, and I’ll rub her back while she falls asleep. I’ll reflect for the millionth time on how God knew what He was doing when He made dogs, and I’ll thank Him for this exact one—the cute young pup turned beautiful old gal who continues to bring me so much joy.
If you’re lucky enough to still be caring for an old dog, I’m happy for you, and I’m sad for you, too. And I know that you, like me, wouldn’t trade the love—or the letting go—for anything.
Sleep tight, sweet Mabel baby.
I’m so glad you’re here. ❤️