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So Old Dog
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Jasmine is getting so old. Her muzzle, once black fading to gray, is now completely white, as are the rims of her ears and patches on her eyebrows.

But most distressing of all, she is getting arthritic and weak. Yesterday she got halfway up the stairs (she follows me everywhere), lost her footing and slid backwards down the stairs, grabbing unsuccessfully with her front claws to stop herself.

And all the way down, as I turned to see what was happening, her trusting brown eyes asked me to help, to stop her. By the time I got to her, she was huddled at the bottom, panting.

I petted her for a while, and talked to her, and then helped her to her feet again. A little munch on a chewy treat (my cure for what ails us all) and we tried it again, me walking beside her and encouraging her at every step. At the top she collapsed, panting, grateful that the ordeal was over.

I have been fretting on and off about what I shall do when she is completely incapacitated. I'm not strong enough to heft such a big dog up the stairs. Sleep downstairs with her until the end, then move back upstairs again?

Sooner or later, she will reach that point and it's going to be hard for both of us. She is so loving and faithful; all she wants is to be with me wherever I have parked myself. That's not asking much, unless you're a dog in your teens and facing the final question.

Why is it so hard to see them in pain and to sit with them while they die? Why do we love them so much?

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