My constant companion, Topper is 16 years old today, 112 in dog years! Until a year ago, he was still game for catching a ball, but in the past year he’s really slowed down. When we last visited the Beaver Animal Clinic, the vet told me he’d never seen a temperature as low as Topper’s in a dog that was still alive.
That didn’t fill me with optimism over Topper’s prognosis for a happy, healthy future. But, if I look as good as Topper when I’m 112, I’ll consider it a small victory.
It’s funny that I even have Topper because I am not a dog person. Dog hair in my house kind of drives me nuts.
But we were visiting friends from Montana, who were vacationing in Malibu once, and I’d had one too many margaritas when the subject of puppies came up. Of course, I agreed that we would take a Corgi puppy when their dog had a litter, never thinking this would happen.
It happened, and if you’ve ever seen a Corgi puppy, they are the cutest things ever, way cuter than babies! So, my daughter begged us and we used the puppy as an excuse for a road trip to Montana in our then new 2006 Honda Pilot (which I still drive with 204,000 plus miles on it).
It was a good trip and Topper seemed to like the car, which was good because he’s now crossed the country in it three times.
In his prime, his name was Topper Banana Lightning Mills because he was so unbelievably fast, he outran several unfortunate squirrels in our yard. He walked miles with me because walking was my therapy during divorce and I ended up getting ownership of him when the dust settled. He has brought me joy and, lately a little more work than I’d like if I don’t get home on time.
He now mostly sleeps and walks in circles a lot. But I try to be patient with him, doing my best not to drag him down the street when his little legs have trouble carrying him. I’m hoping Karma will come back to me when I’m so old I have to be dragged down the street.
God love him, he still seems to get joy from eating the same Pedigree kibble he’s eaten for 16 years and sometimes even runs to the door to go outside now that it’s not zero degrees…probably because his little bladder is about to burst.
I’m not sure how long he’ll last, but I’m going to brush him, give him a bath, feed him, and we’ll have a snuggle on the couch tonight, maybe with a peanut butter treat or two. I’m not 112 yet, but that sounds like the very definition of a great birthday.
Happy Birthday Topper, my sweet dog and constant companion. You’ve shown me that old age may not be so bad, as long as you have someone who loves you, a meal waiting, and a comfy place to sleep.
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