We've always had pets. Mostly mongrels and strays that adopted us. I currently have a cat and a dog that refuse to live with me. So be it. The cat refuses to have anything to do with me after I moved. I can deal with her. My dog can't come over as there is no place for her to go as she's an outside dog and all I have is a concrete courtyard the length of the condo.
I still pay for their food and bills. They're more my parents pets now them mine. My current dog is more my dad's then anything else. After our last dog died, (a shetland sheepdog) I knew I had to get another for my dad. My dad being retired not from old age but forced by polio spends most of his days alone while mom is at work. The animals keep him company. He complains to them and pampers them. They give him something to do. Thus is why I bought my current dog, a black lab golden retriever mix. She was a bundle of energy and basically chewed up the entire back yard. And as much as dad complained, he loved having her.
I fell bad as I was not a kid anymore when I got her so I didn't play with her as much as I probabaly should have. Though she did sleep with me at first, until she liked the way my fingers tasted and then I promptly kicker her out. But she is loved none the less. For a lab mix she's really skinny. In fact boney. I didn't think this was a problem until today.
Lately she's been getting up seeming a little stiff. Her hind legs off center, but seems to bounce back after a few good stretches. But not today. Today dad calls me.
Dad: You better come look at your dog.
Me: Be there after work.
When I get there she's smiling her dog smile happy to see me. She's moving slow. Her back legs wobbly and out of place. I think she's got that hip problem most dogs of her kind get. I feel sorry for her as she's barely 6 years old. I try messaging her back muscles to see if it helps, but nothing. She's still getting about though.
I tell my dad I'll take her to the vet tomorrow.
Dad: If they have to do surgery, don't do it. Pills okay, but no surgery. If it comes to it put her down. She'll only suffer any other way.
My dad is never really one for sympathy. This is as sympathetic as he gets.
Me: We'll see.
I go ahead and give the dog a bath while I'm there. Dad playing with her as she tries to bite the water from the sprinkler. Our last dog died of cancer, but after all he was 16 years old and grew up with me and my brother, he had a good long life. This dog on the other hand as energetic as she is didn't have much in the way of kids to play with. She grew up with...well grown ups. To be fair she's the kind of dog that didn't want to learn and I didn't want to teach her. She know how to sit though, that's about it. Not to say some friends of the family don't come over often and the kids always play with her. But it's not the same.
I didn't cry when our old dog died. Why I dunno. I think I was more happy that he did since he looked miserable for the last year or so. But as I dried this dog off with a towel, she looks into my eyes. She looks happy but confused as to what's going on. She's far too young to be having the pains and problems of an old dog. I start to cry and she licks me. I brush her off and help her inside where she spends the nights in the garage. Her routine is down. Straight through the house to the garage, unless there's cat food out. Then its eat it before getting yelled at then to the garage. But today I carry her and place her on her bed. She doesn't move but has her head raise and tail wagging furiously. I stracth her nose and ask her to just wait till tomorrow and hope for the best. My idignant cat watching from a perch above the cabinets in the gargage.