I've said it before and I'll say it again; I never saw myself as a dog person. Of course I have loved pets as a child, felt attached to them, longed for them to sleep in my bed. But the woman I am today would shock the daylights out of the woman I thought I was becoming (in oh so many ways). Nevertheless, Jezzy is my girl. She is my Paris girl, the perfect companion for my fantasy life in Paris: slim and lovely, head held high, strutting her stuff because she belongs there. She's blended in perfectly with our family, behaved better than any other dog we've owned, converted my son into being a dog lover, convinced my niece she need not be frightened (at least of Jezzy), and comforted both Grandmothers who've known her. And now, she's aging.
I feel a bit like the old woman at the cosmetic counter believing desperately that Ponce De Leon did in fact find the fountain of youth and it has been bottled in that newest expensive night cream. I am constantly reading books, searching the Web, consulting our breeder (thanks a million Mary!) for the next thing to help our girl feel better. We've been to the vet more times than I ever anticipated, first removing some teeth, then to check on thyroid levels, and then again, and again, and finally to confirm that she does have arthritis in her hips. And I am giving my dog medication, a probiotic, changing her food, purchasing her a new bed, lifting her onto mine on the days she's reluctant to jump up there on her own. All with the deep, dark, nagging feeling that this is just the beginning of losing her.
I keep a hawkish eye on her watching as she climbs the stairs (did she trip?), monitoring that she's actually eating enough (did Luna bully her or is she not hungry?), counting her medications (did she get then all?), discouraging her constant licking. And just when I think we've finally addressed everything, something else creeps in and I start worrying about that too. But what alternative do I have, really? I love her fiercely and she deserves the best we can give her to make her comfortable and happy. I realize the inevitable end to this story. I'm not that much in denial. But I wonder how much longer I have with her. I can only hope she and I can both be as comfortable as possible until then.