Autumn Of His Life

“Buddy”…”Buddy”…”BUDDY”     I clapped my hands together and then I knew buddy was a little hard of hearing.  He turned and saw me and started to run toward me but not as fast as the others, but as fast as “HE” could and he came with his tail wagging from side to side.  Buddy is a border collie that is getting along in years and is 13 ½ years old.  When I first saw Buddy just a few days ago, I  noticed his clouded eyes and rough coat, but Buddy is still a proud border collie that has all the beauty of his breed.  He has come to stay with us for a few days along with his sister which is one of our pups that came into his world this summer thanks to Dutchess and Clancy. 

I was taken with Buddy for several reasons, first, because he was trying as hard as he could with all the determination of any border collie to do things. There were times when we went on a walk with “just the boys” and I had to help him get up and over things and even his owner said they had to help him with things that he once could do by himself, but he still tried.  I was also taken by his curiosity as we went for walks and noticed that even though his eyesight and hearing seemed to be failing, he would explore strange sounds, shapes and smells that we came upon but he still gave them a good going over and "what for" and even marked "his" territory.  His gate seemed unsure but steady and determined with a mindset of where he wanted to go.  Yesterday evening Buddy and I were walking next to the lake, he stood next to me for comfort and support and I reached down and rubbed his fur, it was warm to the touch as I felt the sun soaking his hair but knew it was good for his sore tired bones, I knew then, he was happy and it was a good day for both of us.  Buddy is a Prince of a dog.
Clancy and Buddy
This has set me to thinking about my own dogs and "this" fate that waits for them too.  You see just 13 short years ago, but a lifetime for Buddy, he was only 6 months old and getting into things and causing fun and trouble wherever he went just like any 6 month old pup would.  As he grew and matured, I can only imagine the tennis balls and Frisbees that he has played with and the many times his shinny black fur flowed in the wind as he ran, but now his coat is a little dull, his teeth are a little bad and he stumbles a little but in his mind he is still 6 months old and just as proud.  He has had a good life and taught many lessons to many people if they would just watch and listen and I’m sure he has made a difference in many people’s lives, but you have to wonder why he would make a difference in mine, yes Buddy you did, what a Prince of a dog…and for just for a second, I saw a little of you in Clancy, but I also saw a little of Clancy in you too.

Knowing Buddy is a border collie, I know in my heart he has had a full and active life full of things that all border collies like to do.  Buddy, it's OK to take more naps and sleep as much as you want.  It's time to rest and enjoy your life in your Autumn years.  I know it's hard not to play because it hurts and you fall, but as you sleep, dream of the times you did run and your shinny black fur would blow in the wind, your ears pined back, just because you could.  Remember, you still have one more job to do, in due time and that's to meet someone at the bridge when it's their time too, and again you will be back to your youth able to run, jump and spin just like you love to do.  Rest well Old Friend, you deserve it...Your most important job is yet to come...

Before you know it, your best friend has gotten old.  Cherish them now...  I am so amazed at the things I learn from the dogs that visit Dogwood Ridge and my own, we just need to watch and listen...they're trying to teach us...

Autumn by Christy Caballero

What do we do when our loving pets face the last leg of the race? We do all we

can to help them finish well, of course. We take time to read the unspoken needs

of the friends we've come to know so well.

We give the simple reassurance of a loving touch when the old boy seems

confused for no reason.

We groom them faithfully, but more gently, as age brings muscle wasting,

and the arthritic bones aren't so well padded.

We learn to slow down for their sake, as they enjoy the scent of the wind,

or track a visitors trail across their yard.

We watch for pain and treat it, watch for changes in vision and hearing and do

what we can to help preserve those precious senses for as long as possible.

We take care of their teeth, and make sure their food is a manageable texture for them.

We remind them of the need for a potty walk when they seem to forget.

We remember the little rewards. We scratch the graying ears and tummy, and go

for car rides together. When the pet we love has an unexplained need for comfort,

we give it freely. When infirmities bring a sense of vulnerability, we become our old

guardian's protector.

We watch their deepest slumbers, when dreams take them running across long-forgotten

fields, and we remember those fields too. When they cannot stand alone, we lift them.

When their steps are uncertain, we steady them.

And if their health fails, it falls to us to make the choice that will gently put them to rest.

But until that is absolutely necessary, we pause to let the autumn sun warm our old friend's

bones. And we realize, autumn is not a bad time of year at all.

Old age is not a disease or a reason to give up. It is a stage of life that brings its own

changes. Autumn can be a beautiful time of harvest.

And, sometimes, the harvest is love.