I sat on the floor of my kitchen yesterday with my little dog. I fed him a clementine. For years he has known when a clementine was being peeled. He would promptly find me and sit reverently at my feet, waiting quietly as I bit the last few sections in half. I would hold out his side of the piece. He would swallow it and then be an alert little sentinel, patiently waiting for the next slice.
He is a smooth black and tan miniature dachshund, who was born in rural Pennsylvania on May 14, 2001. Now he is gray and white and black and tan. You can picture him as an elderly gentleman, winding down from life. If "a dog year equals seven people years" rings true, this May he will be 105.
A few days ago he lost his footing and fell down the stairs, and though he is okay, he has been quiet for the several days since.
One busy morning a few weeks ago I took him out to start his morning, and I was already an hour into mine, important thoughts whirling in my head. He walks slowly with a swaying lilt. I was urging him to be faster about his to do list. I told him I had so many things on mine. I was wanting the walk to be over so I could get on to my next thing.
I remembered why I wanted a dog, why I pushed for a dog, why I looked for a dog, why I found a dog, why I reserved a dog, why I drove hours to Hillside Kennels in rural Pennsylvania to pick up our new dog.
I wanted to have someone who would make me get outside to play. I wanted someone who would take walks with me, and never say no. I wanted someone to listen to me talk about adult things when I was lonely. I wanted someone to be a loyal friend to my boys. I wanted someone to snuggle with.
Oh my little friend, I think. Oh my little friend. You have gifted me with everything I ever asked you for.
So, yesterday I sat and fed him a clementine. Or I should be more clear. Yesterday he was propped in his own bed. I sat reverently at his feet. Waiting quietly, an alert sentinel, I hand fed my honorable little friend his very own clementine, slice by slice.