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3:29 am - Mon 12.01.2008
What's Lady Thinking?

What's Lady Thinking?

Mon 12/1/08 (1:40 a.m.)

Walking �Lady�, my neighbor Mark�s elderly Sheltie, is a task I feel very ambivalent about.

More so with the passing days.

On one hand, I make a little money doing it, which is nice (For a time, it was a regular $25 bucks a week - I thought of it as my �weekly allowance�. Now it�s more hit-and-miss, depending on Mark�s on-again/off-again schedule as a Hollywood tour guide, but still nice to have when I have it).

On the other hand, it�s very depressing - I don�t know how long I�ve been doing it now (A year, year-and-a-half?), but when I started, the old girl at least had an occasional �spring in her step�; now (And particularly the last couple times I�ve walked her), she is clearly �circling the drain�.

And it makes me sad.

The poor thing is basically a bag of bones. She has cataracts, seems to be stone deaf, and can barely walk anymore.

Actually, the last two times I�ve went out with her, forget about �walking� - she could barely stay on her feet, and was having a hard time holding herself up long enough to go to the bathroom (Today, she actually toppled over after she pooped; I thought for a moment she�d fallen onto the poop, but happily, she had not).

Recently, Mark has started bringing up the topic of having her put to sleep, but doesn�t seem to think she�s as close to the end as I do - Twice when he�s brought the subject up, he�s said �she doesn�t seem to be uncomfortable�; apparently, she�s not whining or crying (Though she�s clearly much more sluggish and unresponsive than she used to be), and she does still eat.

But not �uncomfortable�?

She seems plenty �uncomfortable� to me (And as I wrote that last sentence, it hit me that perhaps I�ve been a little dense, and the reason Mark�s bringing up putting her to sleep, even though he�s obviously not ready to do it, is so I'll persuade him it�s time).
Walking this elderly dog that can hardly see, can�t hear, and can barely move, makes me think about the nature of life, of aging, and what makes existence worthwhile.

I�ve wondered what, if anything, still makes life enjoyable for this animal.

I imagine some of the things I enjoy in life - eating, sleeping, having a good bowel movement - are nice for her as well, even now.

Until maybe a few months ago, I would have said maybe just being outside and sniffing around the way dogs do was �enjoyable� for her (That�s something I�m not sure how to define - Is smelling stuff fun for a dog? Is it �pleasurable� for an animal to follow its instincts?). But now she doesn�t really even have that; these days, with the shape she�s in, it�s not about �walking� her anymore, but about carrying her outside, setting her down long enough to pee and poop, and carrying her back in again.

She never seems to get much out of my petting her, or scratching behind her ears, or what-have-you, but I wonder - Does she still enjoy her �relationship� with Mark?

And if she could speak, what would she say about all this?

I wish I knew.


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