Lessons in dignity from an old dog

Indy

I still have around an hour before Gate 5 is open for my flight to London. I thought I should use this time to post something that has been brewing for a while now – about the lessons I learned from my old furpal, Indy.

In doggy years, when a day passes for humans, it means that a week has passed for them. Indy is 11.5 years old, which in human terms would be around 80.5 years. A senior. Strangers still comment that he still looks like a puppy – perhaps they thought that Indy’s an American Staffordshire Bull Terrier, a bigger breed that has the same characteristics as an English Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Indy is ageing gracefully – gone are the days when he would pull me during our daily walks, so I would have to exercise strength to rein him in. However, gone are also the days when Indy would be waiting for me as I entered the house – tail wagging, all excited to see me again. His eyesight is going slowly – with a blueish hue appearing on his eyes. The cataract clouds are coming.

If I enter the house quietly and slowly, Indy would jump down from the bed in the spare bedroom, gingerly checking out whether I’m an intruder or his master. Once he is sure that I’m his papa, he would jump up, each paw linked to my hand – drawing my face closer to his, as if to check whether I am truly home.

On some days though, even when I enter the house quietly, and then turn the lights on, Indy would still be lying on the bed in the spare bedroom. In these occasions, I would then walk quietly to approach the bedroom – his eyes shining, checking me out. He would then jump down, looking rather embarrassed that he didn’t greet me as he should in the old days. His paws would draw my face closer – checking me out.

The old boy still has many more years to come, I hope. This rapid aging for my furpal has given me many lessons about love and dignity. Of course, you may say that I’m drawing lessons where there are none in the first place – maybe I’m antromorphising Indy’s reactions and actions. Yeah, perhaps <shrugs>. However, I choose to pay attention and ‘listen’ to him.

When he is embarrassed that he hasn’t greeted me, as he thinks he should, I would still shower him with love – as much as I could give him. He returns that love with the same loyalty and love he gave when he was a young dog. I choose to give him the dignity that he wants. His walks are slower and more elaborate now, studying each spot, as if checking each pee location to see whether he is still the king around the neighbourhood.

I learn that each life’s season carries its joy, I can’t expect something that brings me joy from a toddler to be performed by a grown-up. As much as I miss Indy’s excited face on the window, I still appreciate his loving smile when he sees me.

Each season has its own joy. Why dwell on the past seasons and miss the current one?