"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Friday, November 02, 2007

Longtime Companion

Having three dogs of different temperaments, I strive to make sure everyone is content and comfortable.

While I eat breakfast, I'm surrounded by the pack. Lola lies on one side of the dining room table. Wee Ruth stretches out under my chair. Jewel sits beside my chair, as close as she can get, her warm body pressing against the side of my leg. All are eagerly anticipating the moment I'll divide the stub of my morning banana in three small pieces for distribution.

If I'm going to be leaving the house, I put them all outdoors while I get ready to face the world.

If I'm staying home, I put the young ones outside, where they can bounce and run around and play to their hearts' content. Then Lola and I retreat to my office. She sleeps near my desk, on the Persian rug. Later in the day, I put her out with the young ones. Everyone comes in before dinner for a bit of romping and following me round the house and welcoming the Chap when he returns. After dinner, we gather downstairs. Jewel and Ruth settle on the sofa with me and sleep. Lola occupies the area in front of the hearth. She naps until its time for ice cream, when she accompanies the Chap upstairs to our kitchen.

Early in 2008, I think in Februrary, Lola turns fifteen. Already she's the oldest dog I've ever lived with, or been acquainted with. Her senior status is evident, yet her health and vitality are astounding. Yes, she moves more slowly (especially getting up from the floor), she doesn't always hear the first time she's called, advanced age is clouding her eyes. But still she can run up and down the staircases, trot round the backyard enclosure, and bark loudly enough to make our ears ring.

I fell in love with her and brought her home simply because she was so beautiful. We quickly discovered that living with her could be challenging, on many levels, but her innate sweetness and her fierce intelligence were compensating factors.

For most of her life, she was our wild child.

Now she's our mellow matriarch. Still beautiful, still mysteriously aloof, seldom seeking or giving affection but always providing companionship and protection.

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