Thursday, August 4, 2016

Grandpa Ranger

My grandpa puppy has faced some major setbacks and health scares in the past year or so, but he has managed to stare them all down.

Sure, he has some big ol' bumps on his back end, but apparently he has decided not to let them affect his quality of life.

He's lost a lot of weight due to those ravenous tumors, which has stirred up huge amounts of sympathy and compassion from his humans. Accordingly, the treat distribution rate is at an all-time high. Forget a lifetime of boring bowls of dry food - Ranger now lives large on canned food, fresh kibble and crunchy treats served up at his request, all times of night and day.

I'm not even kidding. More than once he's awakened me in the dead of night with his sad little "I'm hungry" whine, and proceeded to wolf down a giant bowl of the good stuff. It's worth the trouble to see him sigh with satisfaction, curl up on his favorite rug, and fall fast asleep for another eight hours.

We still keep to our daily walk, though it's become a bit of an amble. Strolling where he used to stampede, Ranger has slowed his pace considerably, yet his passion for sniffing is strong as always. Best of all is our return home, when my boy flomps himself down in the cool grass, stretches out long and low, and drifts off to a well-deserved nap.

In between naps and meals and walks, my faithful dog still follows me from room to room, or stretches out on a quilt in the front yard while I do outside chores. Yes, I really do spread a bedcover for my prince - he's come to associate one particular quilt with my work sessions, and sprawls himself across it, patiently waiting while I toil away.

During my work breaks, I like to slip over to the quilt, all quiet-like so as not to disturb his slumber. I'll lie down next to him and give him a good ear rub, or a soul-satisfying belly rub. Sometimes I just watch him breathe, skinny ribs keeping a perfect, restful rhythm.

In those moments, I think to myself just how nice it is to have a grandpa dog. And I remember to appreciate him each and ever day.

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