Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Old Man



This is Trooper, my ancient Border Terrier. He's a wonderful old gentleman, as deaf as a post now, with a tumor on his stomach and almost nothing left of his side teeth due to his propensity to chew on sticks and rocks. He went out with Chris and I last month, and got to see his last raccoon up close and personal, but his back legs are quickly giving out on him, and he is starting to lose his mind.

It is this last bit -- his mind -- that is the worry right now, as he has taken to howling even though he is clearly in no physical pain. He howls because he is bewildered and already has one foot in the next world even as his legs are slipping out from underneath him in this one.

There is a season to all things, and I think Trooper's time is not too far into the future. I am taking it week by week with Trooper. We are old friends, and I will do right by him if I can. I do not want to rush his time on Earth, but I cannot keep him here forever.

Today my son took these pictures - my fatherly way of letting him know that Trooper's time is close. How much time does he have left, he wanted to know? I could not answer. I do not know.


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12 comments:

Miki said...

Folks that have and love critters have and know how much can't be known about having and knowing about Love, which is likely about why we do it, again and again and again.

That's a good thing.

Sigh.

Seahorse said...

It almost feels wrong to make comment after such a lovely post, but I know you know we all feel your (living) tribute, your caring and your position.

"To everything, turn, turn, turn..."

Seahorse

Doug said...

Don't know what to say, I know exactly how you feel.
Keepin' you in mind,
Doug

Caveat said...

I've been wondering about the old fellow but didn't want to ask.

My old Dachshund is getting there too but not for awhile yet I hope. The going deaf part is working for me because now people can turn over in bed two blocks away without his calling attention to it.

Hang in there you guys and thanks for the pictures and the good words.

J.Deans said...

Beautiful pictures and beautiful story. I wish you both all the best.

Mark Churchill said...

As the saying goes, "To love is to bury". Hard to believe we sign up for this--and yet how poor life would be if we didn't. Enjoy Trooper's company...

beth said...

I just love the pictures. I know it will be very hard to let my border terriers go.

babysweet said...

How old is Trooper now? He certainly is a smilin' ol man...

jack said...

Dear Patrick,

It was my oldest terrier'Junior"s birthday yesterday. He just turned 8. I have thought a few times of late, that one day, he will have to leave me and go on ahead, that is if my time doesn't get called first, you just never know what can happen and when.Anyone who knows the joy of a good loyal working dog will be touched by this post. Given your posts over the last few years and the great countryside that Trooper has had the privilege to run around in, I think there can be no question that this is a life well lived and that Trooper is in good and grateful hands as he looks at the view from the summit.

take care

Jonathan
Cape Town

Amanda S said...

All the best, Patrick. You'll know when the right time comes. The pictures show that Trouper's getting something out of his last days with you.

Amanda

Lisa Paddock said...

I am enormously moved by your photos and your post, Patrick. What a fine old fellow Trooper is--and what a fine life he has lived. This is hard.

Lisa in Cape May County, NJ

Dog Media Magnate (AB.com) said...

Lovely tribute.