Frosted faces and cloudy eyes. Ears that strain a little to hear “come!” but are still in tune with the fridge door opening. Paws that step a little slower and sides that breathe a little heavier. But love- love that is soft tail thumps, and extra fur left behind on your bed. Love that is matching steps to the dog food bowl in the morning. Following you from room to room- checking in, a glance here and there, or a small lick on your hand. Love that is one excited bark when you get home instead of 10. Love that is bad breath but as many kisses as you can get before time runs out. Getting love from an old dog is a hard right of passage, that’s for sure. But you ask anyone-anyone who’s been loved by an old dog- and they’d take all of those cloudy eyes, and slow wags, and bad breath all over again for one more minute with their old dog. Just one more minute, one more pat, or one more chance to throw that ball. One more muddy paw print across your clean floor. One more kiss with the best bad breath. They’d do it all over again to have one more “just one more” with that old dog.
Sometimes you’re fortunate enough to know when your lasts will be. They told Leslie that she had 2 months left with her old Kioda dog. They walked every trail together, splashed on every beach, ran every road. They shared every cheeseburger and hit up every drive through. Leslie stretched every single minute. She stretched those 2 months out times 3. And then time got faster and the old dog got slower. An old dog will give you as many ‘one mores’ as you ask for, did you know that? They’ll give you one more lick, one more paw shake, one more tail wag, one more slow walk on the beach. They’ll bring that ball back one more time, however long it takes to get there and back to you. They’ll give you their love over and over and over until you can tell them that was good, that was the last time, that’s what you needed. And then they’ll thank you- for taking all the love they had for you. And for letting them go ♥.