Jake turned 13 today. Pretty damned good for any canine – pretty amazing for a ninety-pound pile of bone and muscle like him.
Best dog I’ve ever had; probably the best I ever will have. So easy to train. So good with kids. So bloody goddamned smart.
His joints are more arthritis than bone, now, it seems like. Some kind of nerve deterioration in his back legs. Glaucoma-blind in one eye. He takes more pills with one meal than I take in a month. Stairs are a deadly nemesis; hardwood floors their petty, vicious ally.
And, still, he comes to greet me when I get home. Still he smiles.
Still, he sneaks rawhide treats away from our young puppy as though it were the easiest thing in the world.
I can’t easily remember my life without him. I spend a lot of time imagining him gone.