I gave George his bath yesterday, and it was a distressing experience. He will be 14 in a couple of weeks' time, and his body is clearly aging. His fur no longer has the lively sheen that it once had; his muscular structure is no longer so resilient; his bones have become more prominent beneath the flesh. I could feel the body-weariness in my fingertips as I massaged the soap into a lather.
This morning, I carried him up the stairs to street level for his poop walk. He can make it up the stairs by himself, but it's clearly a great effort--particularly early morning before his body has had the chance to warm up. Still, he did loosen up a bit on his walk, and his poop was as reliable as ever. And he managed to summon the energy to go into his usual frenzy when another dog walked by.
Breakfast time. I mixed his kibble with some pumpkin and some canned dog food, and added in the two pills that he's been taking for a few months now for his heart. They've certainly helped. But when I set the bowl down on the floor for him, there was no longer the usual eager charge and gulp. He eyed it for a while, approaching it gingerly, as if unsure he needed to eat this morning; and only set to with a little encouragement on my part. I was happy, at least, that he polished it off and licked the bowl.
Downstairs again now, he's sleeping on the bed beside us. He sleeps deeper, it seems to me, in his old age, and wakes less readily. And he sleeps a lot.
As in so many different ways, George is now modeling graceful aging for me. He does not seem to be in pain; we have pills ready to use if he shows signs of it. But he is surrendering to age with dignity and patience. When he makes the transition into his next life, if there is one, I hope that his karma will earn him a higher plane--though it's hard to imagine what this might be. He has had a good life, so far...