It snowed overnight a couple days ago, and when I went out for the first morning steps white covered the ground. Not a lot, just a couple inches, already decorated with brown from the dogs’ play. Fuego was already in the yard, everyone else back in the house. Good grief, it was 18 now and I was out almost an hour before so heck it was cold. Dry though, and the snow creaked under my fleecy Crocs.
Squeak squeak squeak, I’m trudging around the yard, watching out for known holes especially that ledge they built running in sweeping arcs on the south side. Fuego watches me just a little suspicious. Am I going to try to grab him? Am I going to play with him? I offer treats, a bit of tiny dog cookies, some dried beef lung. So he settles into the companion mind set.
He comes dashing over, sees the treat, and whips himself around to my left side, plunking his cute striped butt into the snow. I treat but don’t pet. Silly me, missing out on that opportunity. Fortunately he offers the same behavior next time he sees the treat in my hand and this time I hug and praise. He likes that.
There are tracks in the snow. Fast dog feet, digging up the dry dirt. Slow dog feet tottering around the pen where wild birds come in for treats. The old boys are up and moving, their steps punctuated with wet spots. No blood in the wet, good to know. They’ll be fifteen tomorrow and they’re looking old. But still eating, still taking themselves out. Sleeping a lot. They’ve earned that sleep.
Have to take a quick break and put the red kettle on to boil water for the birds. There’s going to be ice under the snow that needs to be broken up so the very hot water quickly becomes just warm. Then refill the suet holders and give the birds a boost of fat energy. Later the crows will get chicken trimmings from last night’s dog food, and cat food. Fill the bird feeders out front then duck back inside to the warmth. Life here goes on in peace, hope it can remain that way.
The old dudes are fifteen today. It’s been iffy the last month or so if they would make it this far. They’re eating well, getting themselves outside, but their years are showing. They wobble sometimes if they get up too fast. They need to go out more often, and when they get out they sometimes stand around wondering why they’re outside. But their tails still wag, they still grab treats when offered.
I found pictures to share from a few years ago, to remind me of when they were younger. I don’t think they’d want me to show them now, thinner and more tired. They deserve their pride.