When you’re an older dog with years on this sweet earth under your collar, you gain wisdom that will long elude your younger yapping counterparts.
You learn, for example, that standing up and lying down take more time than usual, but they’ll happen. That squirrels may still get your attention on a walk or out the window, but their lure in your life has dissolved like stray bits of kibble that make their way into your water bowl.
That you may wake up before dawn, but you really can just stay in bed for awhile. What’s the rush, anyway? The back yard isn’t going anywhere.
That when you think you can walk forever at the pace of your much-younger self, you might tire out on the way home. Which is fine; when’s the last time you took a few moments to check out the flowers in a neighbor’s yard, or to touch noses with a fellow canine you’ve only seen in passing until now?
And while you may not rush to greet your loved ones as quickly as you once could, that doesn’t mean you love them any less. (It probably means you love them more).
When you give your heart to an older dog — like I have 11-year-old Angie, the sweetest girl in the world — you gain from her wisdom. You learn not to rush; what good does it do? You learn to stop and smell — well, nothing like the aromas her amazing and sensitive nose picks up, but maybe some honeysuckle that eluded you when you ran by earlier.
Mostly though, Angie teaches me that every day is new, every morning filled with promise. Yesterday is, well, yesterday, and tomorrow — despite our lists and expectations and what we’d like think — is no covenant with the future. But here we are in this very moment, and off we go.
So for sunrises and smells, for faith in today and renewed determination to give it my all — and for the beautiful and loyal companion whose wisdom continues to guide me…The Grateful Runner says thank you.