Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Dog Stuff

Henrietta goes to the veterinarian today for her six month checkup. She's an old rebel dog and her vet recommends twice-a-year checkups. Plus it keeps the vet in the manner that she's accustomed to, I guess. - In any case, Henrietta and I will have a struggle, as usual. She hates the vet's office almost as much as she hates humans. I'm prepared for some of her stratagems, such as slipping the collar to run away or trying to hide under the waiting room bench behind my legs, but I never get used to the way she starts crying. It's heart-breaking, especially in a bully dog who normally determines when and how I breathe.

Henrietta should be fine. She's in excellent shape for any dog age, and especially for her thirteen or so years. But there have been changes. She's no longer quite so interested in food as she used to be and she doesn't like standing around and watching what I might do next (will she brush her teeth in the same order? will she scratch both elbows?) as often as was the custom. Nowadays she likes to perch in an upstairs window (on a bed) and bark at everyone who goes by.

An old dog is wonderful, like a well-fitting piece of comfortable clothing, someone who knows you inside out and fits in seamlessly. But it is always there, that foreknowledge, that fear of the parting which is coming, like a slight aftertaste of bitter in some types of chocolates.

This makes every day precious, even the ones when we visit the dreaded veterinarian.