Since Sparkey's return from the hospital, we've moved our bedroom downstairs to preclude his need to climb up the stairs (and my need to carry him). For various reasons---is it the tramadol or the IV fluids?---he's much less wobbly and has fallen considerably less in the last few days. His appetite is fairly good, and he looks very handsome after a good brushing by Mary.
Moments of denial creep in when I allow myself to think that perhaps he'll live a few more years. We may be extending his life a few months, but beyond that is alot to ask for. That said, the best thing to do is take this day by day and enjoy every moment with him. Even though it cramps our style, I'm enjoying the fact that he's going to the trouble of hoisting himself onto our bed (sometimes with an assist) every night, my feet occasionally cramped beneath his skinny but still substantial frame. He sleeps a great deal these days, and remains flat on the bed long after we get up, make tea, and begin our day. Once Mary starts working next week, we'll probably need to force him out of bed to take him for his morning constitutional.
Speaking of Mary's return to work after a long sojourn of un- and under-employment, Sparkey and Tina will again be without constant human companionship through the long days. Luckily, our dear friend David who has known the dogs for more than a decade will be coming by for a few hours every afternoon to walk them, keep them company, and call us with The Sparkey Report. With a modicum of flexibility in my job, the need to work from home at times will definitely be on my radar, especially as Sparkey begins to decline, or becomes acutely ill again.
Our sweetest feelings for the old "Bob" are more and more acute as we file through memories of times past and appreciate him for who he is in the present moment. The present moment is what he's really about---he's a gifted teacher---and beyond the worry, the grief, and the sadness, there is always that moment to embrace and fold ourselves into.
The human-canine partnership is a symbiotic one of great emotion and sweetness, and we're so blessed to have had so many wonderful years with Sparkey and Tina. Woody used to say that our dogs were so loving because they were the recipients of so much love. Perhaps they've been the recipients of so much love because they love us so unconditionally. Whatever the case, love breeds more love, and that is certainly the bottom line.