I'm not sure if you remember, I mean I certainly do, but you're pushing what... eighty-four in dog years now? Well, you may or may not recall back then, when we first got you, I hated dogs.
Several bad experiences with my uncle's "dogs"(and when I say "dog" I mean mountain lion, even though that's technically a cat) turned me off to canines for a very long while. So when the surprise was sprung, and we ended up in the middle of central New York to pick you up, there was a lot of internal screaming. Also a tiny bit of external screaming.
It certainly didn't help that you were the dog equivalent of a five year old with ADHD. I also have to assume that you were a fan of Calvin and Hobbes, because everyday I came home from school, there you were.
We've come a long way since then. I mean, you're still there when I come home from college, but as the years tick by, I'm starting to worry that soon, you won't be.
Lots of things changed during that first year of college. I walked in, you said hi, but there was significantly less jumping. I went to throw frisbee with you, and we were only out there for seven minutes instead of fifteen. And when you walked up the stairs, you had to go sideways to manage it.
It's impossible to ignore that you're getting older, pooch. And that brings down a whole host of uncomfortable questions.
Will I be there when it happens?
Do I want to be there when it happens?
How long do we wait before we get another dog?
Do we even get another dog?
Another border collie will feel like we're trying too hard to replace you. And we can't. Everytime I see that dog I'll be reminded of you, and I don't want to be reminded of you, but I do want to be reminded of you.
That's why I don't complain anymore when it's time to play with you. That's why I don't mind staying up til three a.m. to let you out one more time before I go to bed. That's why I miss you more than the rest of the family when I'm all the way out here.
In doing this, I suppose I'm trying to prepare myself. It's not going to make a lick of difference when the time comes, but I'm just going to pretend that it might.
Thank you for being a dog. And if you could grant me one wish, make sure I'm there to give you a hug, when it's time for you to go home.
P.S. Don't worry. If someone says you were "just a dog," I'll bite them for you.