While he still breaks into a trot if the air is right or the tractor is going somewhere, Riley mostly walks these days. And what’s the big hurry anyway? You’ll get there when you get there.
2 Get plenty of rest.
There’s a lot of napping: napping on the porch, napping in the living room, napping on the lawn. It doesn’t look so bad.
3 Eat what you like.
After a recent bout with Geriatric Vestibular Syndrome – which looks a lot like a stroke but affects the inner ear – the vet told us to treat Riley, so he got cheese and lunch meat and eggs. He still won’t eat his dog food unless it’s laced with olive oil. But at his age, why not?
4 Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
He goes in, he goes out; he goes in, he goes out. Fortunately, Riley’s humans have home offices, so we can answer his barks when he wants to change the scenery. Maybe independence isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!
5 You’re tougher than you think.
Riley is deaf too. So not long ago, he fell asleep beside a visitor’s car, and didn’t hear when the engine started. One of the car’s rear wheels rolled right over him. Yes, our 14-year-old dog was run over. The driver was devastated, and we all prepared for the worst. But not Riley. We carried him into the house, and after lying very still for a while, he got up with a little help and asked to go outside. Cats are supposed to have nine lives, not dogs, but don’t tell Riley that.
6 Show your people you love them.
During the days he was recovering, Riley didn’t move very much. But whenever one of his family came into the room, he would twitch the end of his tail on the floor. He’s feeling much better now, and he still lets us know every day that we are his very favourite humans in the whole world.
Have you learned some important philosophy – either cliched or otherwise – from a pet? Tell us about it in the comments below!
– Linda Reynolds Derek Botha