Ever since her first appearance, The Dog has been an almost annual feature here. It’s hard to believe she’s eleven years old already. Her mortality was first brought home to us when our first chicken was killed:
OUR WRITER and his GODDESS stare at a freshly dug grave. Our Writer rapidly blinks away a dust mote.
If we’re this upset over a chicken, imagine when The Dog goes.
The Dog was the first addition to Fortress Mamea in 2003. A family canine was something the adult family members wanted: we’d each had a dog in our childhood, though this time around we had requirements like
- no begging at the dinner table,
- no sleeping on the bed,
- and some actual obedience.
We were largely successful: there’s no begging at mealtimes, The Dog knows not to jump onto our bed (the children’s beds are a different matter), and she returns on command.
She and I have clocked up some serious mileage over the years (not so much for a while), but this year she was retired from the exercise regime. Long gone are the days where she would shadow me as I 1). put on my running shoes, 2). ground through some stretching exercises, and 3). collected her lead and my stopwatch from the Wall Hook of Righteous Agony. In the last few months, she has had to be coaxed more and more: at first to leave her dog bed for the brisk morning air and, later, to leave the fortress altogether.
The Dog is getting old. She’s farting more freely, her snoring is louder and more insistent, and her daily ratio of resting versus all-out-physicality has changed markedly. The Goddess and I have been meaning to get a puppy these past few years, ostensibly to keep The Dog company when we’re not at home, but we haven’t even window-shopped. I suspect, deep down, we know that to begin looking for a puppy would be to acknowledge The Dog’s mortality.
The Kitten could be seen in hindsight as a transitional stage. It is heartening to see The Dog initiate playtime with The Kitten.
THE KITTEN -- fully grown now but always referred to as “The Kitten” -- climbs through her CAT FLAP when --
-- THE DOG leaps as if from nowhere --
-- and lands a paw on the cat’s hindquarters, the dog’s mass and speed spinning the cat 360 degrees until she recovers, back arched and glaring at The Dog:
Step back or die, cur.
The Dog will forever be Fortress Mamea’s first hound. And until it’s time for her to go, we’ll continue to feed her, walk her, and love her.