There are no other photos in this post, because the weather outside is frightful. It started off this morning snowing when we got up, which was awesome, so we rushed outside to play in the white stuff. The snow turned to ice balls and then to rain a couple hours later and it’s been raining coldly ever since. Now the ground is still mostly frozen, with puddles of slowly melting frozen mud sitting on top of it, very slippery – recipe for a cruciate tear. Which, for those of you who do not follow us on Facebook, is what Wootie was diagnosed with earlier this week. Le sigh.
“Full tear, left knee” Dr. B told me, flashing me his highest wattage “Please Don’t Punch Your Vet In The Face Today” smile.
Poor Mr. Noodles. He’ll probably die of grief when he realizes he won’t be allowed to climb on my bed after the surgery.
He’s getting around on it just fine – mostly limpy/sore looking in the evenings. When he’s out there tearing around after his soccer ball, you’d never know there was a thing wrong with him. So he also came along on our afternoon constitutional. We all played some ball for a bit and got super muddy, then we walked through the back of the property through the long wet grass to soak some of that mud off.
Tweed does this thing that drives me crazy when we’re out walking, which is to walk just a little behind me to the right, and repeatedly nudge or bump my hand with his soaking wet head or nose. In the cold weather it annoys me because it makes the fingers of my gloves wet. In the summer it’s gross because I’m hot and sticky and so is his nose, just compounding the hot and stickiness of it all. It’s also repetitive and irritating, and sometimes I whip my hand away and snark at him to STOP THAT. When I turn to glare at him, he is always smiling up at me hopefully, and I always feel a little ashamed of myself.
I don’t anthropomorphize my pets*; I know what he’s doing, he’s harassing me for a cookie, which are in my right hand pocket. He’s always done it, although he knows I almost always only give out cookies to reward behaviours – and not THAT behaviour, tyvm. The older he gets, the more insistent about it he’s become, like he thinks he deserves free cookies by virtue of aging. He’s probably right. More and more, I do give them to him freely. How many more free cookies are in his future after all? He’s in fantastic shape, but he is going to be 15 this year … he can cookie all he wants, probably.
But sometimes it feels like he’s saying “Hey, don’t forget about me lady.” Don’t forget to give me a cookie. Don’t forget I’m following you, loyal to your pocket, connected to you. Don’t forget about me. Don’t forget.
Because we do; we do forget. I forget myself when I snap at him to stop poking me with his wet face, making my wet fingers uncomfortable. I don’t walk around all day thinking about how old he is, how we won’t have a forever together, how one day I won’t turn look down to see his face grinning up at me, open mouthed, eyes meeting mine and then glancing purposefully at my pocket. I live in a world that is not consumed by thoughts of my aging old friend. He needs to remind me sometimes. He needs to remind me not to take him for granted, not to forget. I need him to do that for me.
We were walking out on the property a couple of weeks ago when a small flock of 4 snow geese flew overhead, honking like a bunch of grunty toys. We were heading North, they flew South, behind us and away, their honking receding in the wind. We kept walking, and then I heard them coming back. There was one at the head of the flock, two behind it and to the left, one behind it and to the right. They looked unbalanced – broken, like a fighter jet with a missing wing. Their honking increased in frequency and intensity, and then I heard another snow goose answer. It was coming from the other direction, wings pumping hard, neck straining. Don’t forget me. They crossed paths right above us, and the lone goose stalled in the air, banked sharply almost upside down and took up its place in the formation, on the right. A perfect “V” once more, and they all swept off again, goose noises fading to silence.
Tweed, my wing man, taking up his place at my right. Where he belongs. Making me whole. Silently reminding me he’s here. Don’t forget me.
Thank you Tweed, for the reminder. One day, all I will have of you are memories. Thank you for helping me to remember to make some. Have a cookie. Take the whole damn pocketful.
Happy New Year, friends :)
(*totally untrue, I anthropomorphise my pets ALL THE TIME. For example, everything Ender does to annoy me is calculated and by design, I’m sure of it)