She’s lying by my desk snoring gently, trying to be discrete, trying to not remind me that she really should have had her arthritis medication by now.
The Senior Assistant is becoming more senior every day. It is difficult to not to notice all the white hair around her once jet black face and paws, the lessening of her once impressive muscle bulk. She used to radiate power and physical confidence. Where ever she went she was the alpha dog. Now her spine juts and sags a little, her running has slowed and stiffened and now she no longer dominates, she just seems a little cranky.
The Senior Assistant is 11 years old now, which is quite an age for a big dog. She is beginning to pay the price for a life spent charging headlong into each day. She has had many visits to the vet to repair muscle damage, enormous cuts to her legs, so many slashed paw pads and one almost terminal brush with hemolytic anemia. All these bumps, cuts and diseases have taken their toll and she now cannot live life in her accustomed me first, me fastest, me in charge way.
When we went out exploring or taking photographs she normally charged around relentlessly now there are increasing periods of plodding or having a wee lie down. My abiding memory of the Old Man of Storr is of arriving at the gate that is above where the tree line once was , checking that there were no sheep and then opening the gate and for her to burst out into the vast bowl that lies below the Old Man. A tiny black dot that ran free and happy in a great arc reveling in her freedom and health.
She used to run all day, now after our morning walk round the village, about a couple of miles, she is content and a bit tired. It has come time for the Senior Assistant to enter semi retirement. Now my ever present if sometimes distant and occasionally annoying companion will be missing. I will still have the Junior Assistant but he is a lot more needy and clingy, and if I’m being honest, dim.
Soon there shall be days when I shall put on my walking boots, gather my photo gear and head out to the car giddy with anticipation Junior Assistant while telling the Senior Assistant to stay as today we are going a bit far for her. I’ll not look back at the questioning and hurt eyes under their grey brows looking at me from the window. I’ll know it will be for her own good but it will break my heart.