My dog Sully is getting old and this morning he ran and hid under the bed because he didn’t want to go on a walk. I can’t tell you what a drag that is. For one thing it means I’m stuck with the other two knuckle heads: poor Rupert, who thinks he’s a Rottweiler and not the fat, brown, bad-breathed, intelligence-challenged, desperate for love, Miniature Pinscher that he is and Molly the tiny poodle, who is afraid of everythingoutside of the house and a tyrannical dictator of everything inside. They're sweet and they love a good walk but they're always getting tangled or trying to start trouble or lagging behind or just all around pretty annoying. But Sully... Sully has always been the dude who knows what a good walk is all about. He doesn’t tug on the leash, he doesn’t pull. When he meets another dog if he even acknowledges them at all he simply gives a sniff and moves on. And don’t get me wrong - I love all of my doggies but Sully and me, in this way, we are simpatico. He's special. I guess it’s because he’s not trying to be something other than who he is - just a straight up eatin’ kibble, peeing on bushes, hunting for squirrels, napping most of the day, barking super loud at non-existent sounds, over-the-top joyous upon anyone’s entrance into our house, loves-to-howl, kinda terrier. And in this town - the genuine article, the non-poser, damn! It’s refreshing!
We started noticing odd stuff with him several months ago. Mental stuff mostly. He would go out the doggie door and do his doggie business and then not come back in. He’d just sit there staring at the door, making a few sad little attempts to come back in but then deciding he couldn’t do it. And occasionally he’d whimper. We’d try to coax him in through the door with treats but it didn't work. We had him checked out and the gist was literally... 'He's fine, healthy, just getting old and kinda' losing his marbles.'
We got Sully as a puppy from a rescue when our nearly thirteen-year-old son was one as a way to mend our broken hearts after our two senior dogs died within four days of each other. He was called "Mike" then. He was the most energetic creature I'd ever seen which is saying a lot as up until then my son had been the most energetic creatures I'd ever seen. The fact that I had both of them as 'puppies' means I must have been some kind of masochist. But... time has passed. My son is now nearly my height and settled in to sloth-like teenager-ness and Sully, too, is slowing. Seeing this in-your-face, no-denying-it, passage of time play out right in front of me is breath-catching, beautiful and sometimes a bit terrifying.
Well, today, I trudged along with the two stooges, resolving to really make an effort to appreciate my walk, to see the beauty. To do it for Sully because today he wasn't going to do it for himself. We motored along stopping here and there noticing things and sniffing stuff and breathing deeply. Every now and then I'd press 'pause' on Eckhart's sweet nothings from the audiobook on my phone and I took some pictures.
It's a beautiful day here in Los Angeles. That actually happens a lot - beautiful days. It's one of the reasons I moved here one million years ago and I'm grateful I still notice it. After all this time... Time. There's that word again. It happens. We're all getting older - well most of us, in LA it's more like 'parts' of most of us. And stuff starts to 'go' - the body, the mind. Again, for the millionth time I'm reminded of the 'here' the ever-present and always fabulous NOW. And further more of how much happier, wiser and better adjusted I am NOW that I'm older than back then when I was younger. How grateful I am for time!
When I got back home wise old Sully was there to greet me with an excited lick and loud barking session. I unleashed my other two sweethearts and sat and cuddled with Sully for a bit. I told him he'd've loved the walk but not to feel bad for hanging back. I filled his bowl with food and then I told him what I tell him every day because it's true, "You're the King of all dogs, Sully." And tomorrow, I hope he's up for a walk, because you know, it ain't over 'til it's over, but if he's not, that'll be okay, too. It's all good. It's being here with him NOW that's most important.