Right. I got it. Beating myself up for Very Old Dog's skinned up nose was a little over the edge. I'm not God. Thank you, dear commenters, for giving me a little perspective!
Yesterday was more typical of Western Kentucky's January weather than what we've been suffering, errr.. experiencing lately. It was mostly sunny and in the upper 30's. Which felt like the mid 50's in juxtaposition with the freaking, freaky minus ten wind chill of the day before. (Shudder.) I can't make myself imagine what the two Lauries in Minnesota are dealing with. No, it's like imagining being a victim of water boarding, which we can now finally say is torture. Again. Minus twenty? Torture. You betcha.
But enjoying yesterday's (relative) warmth, the three youngsters - Sam I Am, Swede William, and Lindy Loo - joined me after everyone had walked, while I did poo duties in the yard. I'll admit to shirking these duties during the torture time. When it's minus ten, the scooping can wait. The dogs won't stay out long enough at those temperatures to savor poopsicles, so, it can wait. Thus, yesterday's scooping took longer than usual.
And Very Old Dog, toasty in his fleecy housecoat, joined us in the sunshine, too. Lindy Loo ran and ran and ran like ... well, like a whippet. Sammy ran after her, with Swede William in not so hot pursuit. (He tends to wait at the corners and ambush, being the clever fellow he is.) I tried to place myself between the running missiles and Very Old Dog. If a scraped nose had undone me, imagine a collision with a 30 mph whippet. Oh lordy.
Very Old Dog had been an outstanding runner in his youth, in his prime. We had driven from our farm in Maryland all the way to San Diego, California in 1998 for the American Whippet Club National Specialty. And at that National Field Trial, Very Old Dog outran and out-coursed 115 talented whippets to win Best In Field. And he did it with breathtaking ease.
So when the youngsters were careening around the yard yesterday, I saw my Very Old Dog get a look in his eyes. It was a look totally unburdened by the human silliness of worry, regret, wistfulness, caution, responsibility, or self pity. The look in Very Old Dog's eyes said only one thing:
And off he tottered. Full tilt, in both meanings of the word. He scampered after the speeding pocket rockets, only to be directly in their paths after they had reached the end of the yard, and had turned around and continued their game of chase.
The projectiles that were the young whippets zipped on either side of him, miraculously avoiding the nightmare pile up. Very Old Dog turned around without tipping over and chased after them. He let out a yip.
Now, that took me back. And it took me to the place where he was at that very moment. He was a quiet dog when he was young. But when the "bunny" (the white plastic bags which acted as the lure at the lure trials) would whip around a pulley, suddenly turning, my quiet dog would "yip" in the joy of the chase. "YIP" (translation: "I'll get you, crafty bunny! You can turn, but I'm gaining on you! Woopeeeeeeeee!") When he yipped in the yard yesterday, I realized he was having the most fun.
He "ran" along with the other three until they wore all the way out. If they had knocked him down, I would have felt like the stupidest excuse for a servant on Earth. But they didn't. And as I carried his protesting self up the three stairs to the breezeway, feeling his enlarged heart pounding for all it was worth, I kissed his scabby nose.
I wish I could fill every minute of his every day left with such joy.
I can't help it. I'm only human.