22 April 2018

Otterpop’s aged a hundred years in the last year since we lost Ruby.

Ruby was her joined at the hip, her for better or for worse, her Beyonce to her Jay-Z. When we lost Ruby I think we lost a piece of Otterpop. I didn’t figure this out at first. But Otterpop grew weird stomach tumors, got limpier and lost all her hearing. A few more teeth vanished, and her rancid black moods turned a little drunk, a little silly. She stopped barking.

Otterpop doesn’t bark anymore. Ever.

Otterpop can’t let me out of her sight. I can’t let her out of mine, she wears Ruby’s long deafness string now on every single walk. I hoist her up and carry her up hills, or stuff her in a day pack. She really does try to walk, but her little back legs hobble like crab’s legs now, limpy and sideways and stumbley.

Sometimes I find her wandering wayward in the closet, lost her way on her way to somewhere now forgotten. I set her back on the couch when this happens, and either that’s perfectly cool or she wants to go somewhere. Go! Not sure where she’s looking for. Maybe to find Ruby? Or to find a piece of chicken. Or I don't know. Only Otterpop knows.

She still likes to run, and launch herself off things. High things! Tree things! All the things. And if I don’t watch her, she does. One good run and an illegal launch on a morning walk renders her a cripple by the evening, even with her grandma pills.

The last few weeks has been all about Banksy, Banksy, Banksy. Gustavo’s used to being a bit shuffled in the fray, he’s ok being shuffled, he sits on my lap at night and gets ice cream and he knows I'm sorry for the shuffles. Tonight on our walk, I noticed how sad and little Otterpop looked. A little more faded, a lot slower, like in the last few weeks she aged another fifty years. Her proprioception way worse than Banksy's, I hadn't even known that's what it was, just Otterpop's old lady crab walk legs is what I thought.

Sometimes Banksy looks at her like she’s seen a devil pop up from a dirt tunnel, gives her a creep look and runs to her hidey hole to stare at her. Maybe she saw how old she got so fast, maybe that spooked her, how it could be someday, everything just starts to go all to hell. Banksy avoids her now, takes the long way around the Otterpop.

Gustavo’s all, whatever. Otterpop's all, whatever. Then Otterpop launches herself on top of him, smashes his sensitive fur and feet, gets him all flustered like you hardly ever see him. He screams like a girl and looks all put out. Otterpop doesn’t even notice. Climbs up to her couch pillow and gets comfortable and starts to snore.

That's where she is now. Snoring on a dirty pillow. Til she goes wandering again, and I find her, and put her back. Over and over again.


Elise Strauss said...

My heart goes out to you, Laura. I've been thinking of you and Banksy for the past couple of weeks and I'm just so sorry for what you're going through. This post about Otterpop really got me, though. It's SO NOT fair that they live such short, complicated, amazing lives. I don't know what else to say other than I feel for you -- all the emotions -- and I'm thinking of you. Hugs to you.

Elf said...

Aging dogs, so hard to go through. And they all have to be different so that one never really know what to expect. I think that older dogs can indeed mourn for their older close canine companions, like elder people who lose a spouse. Poor little Otterpop.