The Slow Goodbye

My dog, Chip is getting old. He was born in the summer of 1998 and came to live with our family when he was just a pup. What a fun day.

But the fun was short-lived. Over the next 18 months, he ate everything. He ate flip-flops and shoes, food off the table and trash in the closet, dry spaghetti and molasses out of a box in the yard, carpet and tile, bags of dog food and worst of all, my daughter’s hamster, Flower (no kidding). That might have been the low point in his young life.

At the ripe age of two, he changed. He stopped eating household items when our back was turned. He no longer ate other family pets. He became a team player. He became a very good friend.

But the years have passed and the dog has aged. Over the past few months, I’ve watched his body slowly break down. He can’t walk as far. He has difficulty getting off the floor. He struggles after a good romp in the back yard. He twitches furiously when he sleeps and he moans with each deep breath. We’ve given him pain medicine but that just causes him to sleep more. He’s become an old dog right before my eyes. His life is coming to an end much faster than I expected.

But he is a Black Lab and one thing hasn’t changed: his love of food. He can be in a sound sleep, a deep slumber, groaning and twitching through a dream but make a move for the dog food bin and his tail thumps out a rhythm of joy on the living room floor. The body is weak but the spirit is fully alive!

It won’t be long, I know but my good friend will live forever in my heart. Good boy. Good boy.

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