You know everyone is looking at him, shaking their heads, wondering: when is she going to have him put down?
He's old and smelly and he's moulting like an ancient bird but I still see a spark in those red rimmed old pug eyes. Mostly when he's eating. Often when he's sleeping. Always when he has his little nose nuzzled into the crook of my right arm while I'm watching television.
Gordie is pretty much on his last arthritic legs.
I may be sentimental, but I'm not stupid.
But it doesn't mean he has to go to the Green Mile just yet.
I'm giving him one last good summer while he can still lift up that familiar button nose and smell the barbecuing meat, and have a taste if it's his want. Or roll around and put his nose to the feisty young Sophie who sometimes gets him going in that old familiar male way.
Gordie is a dirty old man. And that's just fine by me.
I thrill to hear his bark but it's raspy.
I get all jiggy watching him lap down two gallons of water.
And I despair every time he decides he doesn't want kibble. Or when he whines for no particular reason.
We've been together a long time, Gordie and me.
We finish each other's thoughts.
He got me through a lot of bad times. He lapped away my tears and snuggled me when I was alone and wondering what the hell I was still doing on planet earth.
He's put up with the new man in my life. He's learned to live with the gaggle of newbie dogs who arrived to take the place of the old ones.
He's even had to make sense of a toddler who likes to pull his tail.
But he's tired and it's nearly his time.
This morning, I fed and watered him then took him out for a lay in the sun.
I brushed away the dandruff that has spotted his once shiny coat, then rubbed Bag Balm into his crannies and his Jurassic, cracked nose. I put artificial tears into his troubled eyes.
And I thanked him for 12 years of shitting and pissing and barking and puking.
For making me worry through three serious operations, a bout of pancreatitis and the yanking of nearly a full head of teeth.
It's all been worth it.
It's time to coddle him and praise him and rub his cold feet.
And thank him for loving me just as I am.
Warts and all.