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7 August (so far as I can tell) is the birthday of Harper, my dog. She turns 13 years old. I forget what is the lifespan of a dog, I think it’s 15 years. I hoped with her mongrel genetics and regular dog-walks she would be a long-liver but I have doubts. “She’s in her dotage” as Someone says. She is grown deaf and she more or less sleeps all day. She no longer hears the door opening when I come home at night nor the food being prepared in the far-off kitchen. In her youth both would have her get up and running. Now I have to come into the room to let her know I am home.

The Dog-walks have slowed down. She no longer ‘gets me going’ in the morning. Rather I have to remind her it’s time for a walk. Often I have to rouse her from deep sleep and she isn’t enthused to go. In an ideal week we get in fourteen walks; nowadays it is 7-9. Once outside she perks up a bit; it makes me smile to see this, there is still some energy and interest in her thank goodness.

Dog walks are short, not so much due to age but the heat. August is hot and humid that even the early morning walks aren’t much fun. We used to have various routes, but we’ve limited them to two staid ones, each less than 10 minutes long. I hope in cooler months she will be willing and able to go on longer ones. She still comes to the pantry to get the obligatory post-walk treat.

As I write this I see her asleep on the bed. She can still jump onto it. She has ceased sleeping in her own bed for some reason. When I get into bed she moves from the front to the foot, as is her wont. This makes me sad, for I want her to stay up top to snuggle. She doesn’t. She is slowly sleeping away what life is left of her I suppose. I get teary as I write this.

Such are the Spo-reflections on her 13th birthday. She isn’t one ever to play with toys, so I will give her an extra post-walk treat tomorrow and call it birthday cake.

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