by Christy Caballero
* What do we do when our loving pets face the last leg
of the race?
* We do all we can to help them finish well, of course.
We take time to read the unspoken needs of the friends we've come to
know so well.
* We give the simple reassurance of a loving touch when
the old pup seems confused for no reason.
* We groom them faithfully, but more gently, as age
brings muscle wasting, and the arthritic bones aren't so well padded.
* We learn to slow down for their sake, as they enjoy
the scent of the wind, or track a visitors trail across their yard.
* We expect to be inconvenienced, and aren't angry when
* We watch for pain and treat it, watch for changes in
vision and hearing and do what we can to help preserve those precious
senses for as long as possible.
* We take care of their teeth, and make sure their food
is a manageable texture for them.
* We remind them of the need for a potty walk when they
seem to forget.
* We remember the little rewards. We scratch the graying
ears and tummy, and go for car rides together. When the pet we love has
an unexplained need for comfort, we give it freely. When infirmities
bring a sense of vulnerability, we become our old guardian's protector.
* We watch their deepest slumbers, when dreams take them
running across long-forgotten fields, and we remember those fields too.
When they cannot stand alone, we lift them. When their steps are
uncertain, we steady them.
* And if their health fails, it falls to us to make the
choice that will gently put them to rest. But until that is absolutely
necessary, we pause to let the autumn sun warm our old friend's bones.
And we realize, autumn is not a bad time of year at all.
* Old age is not a disease or a reason to give up. It is
a stage of life that brings its own changes. Autumn can be a beautiful
time of harvest.
* And, sometimes, the harvest is love.
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spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) by country
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