I spent some time with an old friend today. She has been ill lately – the years are catching up with her – and I owed her a visit. I was nervous because I had heard stories about her health. I worried about what she would look like and how I should act.
My friend doesn’t belong to me. She doesn’t live with me. But I have known her almost all her life; and I love her just the same.
I was encouraged when I showed up at her door: she tried to greet me like she used to. She tried to run to me and jump upon me – but she couldn’t. Her weak paws could only manage to rest upon my leg as she struggled to maintain her balance. I leaned down and she licked my hand. I smiled a sad smile.
She used to want to play – but not today. Today she just wanted to rest in her soft bed with her head upon her blanket. I comforted her, gently petting her, noticing how her lush coat was now starting to fall out.
I thought about how time robs us of what we once were, and I grew sadder. But she wasn’t sad at all; merely content to accept her new life, resting and enjoying people as she always did.
We took a walk. She could hardly make it down the steps. But somehow being outdoors gave her energy, but in brief spurts. I recalled her youth, and how I could never keep up with her – how she would strain at her leash and drag me down the street. I longed for those days: to turn back the clock and make her a pup again. But I knew I couldn’t – and that I should be content with a slow stroll with her by my side. I watched her and marveled at her dignity.
It’s funny how we humans let sadness wash over us and completely overshadow the love that is still there. Love is always there. It’s funny how some of us are embarrassed to say that we love an animal – but not me. I freely show it and say it.
I felt sad when I had to leave, but that was only my sadness – not hers. I had things to do, stories to tell; and she had dreams to dream in her comfy bed. Dreams of chasing balls and playing in the grass. Dreams of good times gone by and good times yet to come.
I didn’t say goodbye to her, only “see you soon.” I’ll be back, my friend. Wait for me.