Ballad of the geriatric poodle.

I’m one of three people on the planet who don’t own a digital camera. I understand the other two are in refugee camps, awaiting their Red Cross-issued digital cameras.

As a techno loser, I don’t have a lot of photos of, well, anything. I realized that I have no photographic proof of my existence between October 2001 and December 2004. But, I remember some stuff from that time, so I guess I’m ok.

I think I need to get on the stick or I’m going to end up wishing I had photos. Photos of my dogs. Because I am that lady.

The gold-plated anti-senility drugs aren’t really helping the Geriatric Poodle. I talked to the vet today and for the first time, he admitted that there’s really nothing else they can do for the little guy. He suggested an acupuncturist. And he told me that we might be looking at the end of the road.

I managed not to cry during our conversation – I saved my mental breakdown for describing the conversation to Mr. Wonderful.

I might try the acupuncture. I don’t know. Right now, it seems that’s all that’s really wrong with Geriatric Poodle is that he’s old. And aging isn’t a disease – it just is what it is.

Right now, he’s cuddled up against my chest. One of my wonderful friends dropped off an oft-passed-around Baby Bjorn this afternoon. It promises to give me scoliosis, but my little ball of fluff seems rather pleased with the whole thing.

The idea of doing nothing seems morally wrong. But Mr. Wonderful pointed out that I’m not doing nothing – I’m loving him and petting him and feeding him and giving him all the things he didn’t have at the beginning of his life.

I used to work in a very large park. People would dump their dogs in the park, so we had packs of wild dogs roaming around.

One morning, I heard a hullabaloo at the front desk of my office, but seeing as how I am not a morning person, I didn’t investigate. Later, I saw a coworker with blood all over her shirt.

She had found a dog right next to our front walk. He was covered in mange and was literally bleeding to death. He’d been beaten up by some other dogs in the park. He weighed 11 pounds.

I didn’t see him that day, but I saw him the day after. The vet had shaved him, and he had a giant, purple hernia that distracted attention from his multiple stitches.

He wouldn’t look anyone in the eye. I didn’t realize he had a tail.

When he was found, he was wearing a collar that was way too tight. He’d been abused and then dumped in the park.

The third day I visited him at the vet, he cried when I left. He was my dog.

He lived at the vet for several weeks. I would go and just sit with him. I brought him toys after I had slept with them, so they smelled like me. And then, after my coworkers took up a collection and the vet wrote off hundreds and hundreds of dollars in fees, I took him home.

I felt like a new parent – I couldn’t believe they just let me walk out of the vet with him. Sure, I’d had dogs growing up, but I had no clue what I was doing! And, he was still in a cone. And, I was in a no-pets apartment. What was I doing?

He trained me well. We got into a routine. A smarter dog I have never known. Seriously. Intuitive, ornery, and smart as hell.

We’ve been through impacted anal glands (his, not mine); four moves; the mother of all break-ups; a spleen that just ripped in half for no reason and was almost lethal (again, his); and joy and celebration. This dog wore a golf towel as a cape and let me carry him around in a backpack because he knew he was adorable. And his best friend in the entire universe is a fleece camel named, of course, Camelia.

He is the best dog anyone could ever, ever ask for.

My heart breaks at the idea of parting, but I know this isn’t about me. It’s about life. This is how it works.

And it sucks.

Maybe we have lots of time left – me, poodle and Baby Bjorn. Or maybe tomorrow will be the day I go to get him out of his kennel and he doesn’t wake up. I don’t know.

But it’s been really great.

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