We had quite the afternoon on Sunday. Skippy was not himself. He could barely stand outside in the morning. He slept and slept.
I woke him to take him out again. He managed both businesses but then his hindquarters plunked down, weakly. He refused water and food. He refused vanilla ice cream. (Vanilla ice cream had inspired him to live on a prior occasion.) He is 16 years and 4 months old. Almost 115 years old if the 7/1 ratio is true.
He seemed to be leaving us. It seemed to be his time.
Slowly, he almost stopped.
He stretched out on our laps, wrapped in a blanket. He was limp, his eyes only flickering open when we moved his head. He breathed in a pattern of deep and rapid then shallow and slow, a Cheyne-stokes rhythm. This was it, I thought. As his immediate family we prepared ourselves. Those who could gather, gathered and said what they needed to say.
Hours went by. He was cradled in arms throughout.
And then he stirred. He had to go out. He wobbled but managed. Back in, he wiggled to be let down. He wandered, getting his sea legs.
He eagerly ate his favorite, ice cold vanilla flavor. He wanted more. He ate his dog food.
It was like he went to the edge of the rainbow bridge and then came back.
Twenty four hours later he ran past me on the sidewalk. The night was crisp and fall-ish. There were crunchy leaves to run through. He scampered like a puppy, because he could. Back in the house, he pranced past Johnny K to get a treat.
This morning he sleeps in the sun, because it is out, and because it shines in the front door this time of year, and because I moved his bed into the warm spot.
He just wasn't ready to leave these simple things. You know, the simple things we sometimes do not notice.
Arms that hold you when you do not feel right.
Crisp fall air.
Leaves from trees.
A cozy bed.
"I think...." he started to say, and paused.
His head tilted as he thought- transferred this to me, so that it would be emphasized. It is the cutest way dogs have to make you pay attention.
"I think it is good to love these things, even before you might lose them."
I patted his head and, once again, fixed his ear so it hung down properly.
"Well said," I said. "I'll pass that on."