Back by popular demand, an update on living with Lady MacBeth (a.k.a. The Bug).
Actually, while readers have been asking for it, this was more of a reflection on life and death.
I realized recently that in six months — six months and five days to be precise — The Bug is going to be eight years old.
Quite aside from the fact that the two of us have been virtually inseparable for seven-and-a-half years, where the heck did that time go?
When I bought Lady MacBeth for my (now officially) ex-wife, I had never had a dog, had never wanted a dog, had never fathomed that I could get attached to a dog.
But life is funny.
Now, it actually feels weird to write the above line about buying her, as if she is a piece of property like a bass guitar, or a television, or a car.
I don’t feel that way about her at all.
At first, I didn’t really want to have anything to do with her.
Now, I can barely imagine my life without her.
And yet, I have to face the reality, she is going to be eight years old.
Newfoundland dogs typically have a lifespan of eight to 10 years.
PetMD says they are prone to vserious health conditions such as gastric torsion, Sub-Aortic Stenosis (SAS), cystinuria, canine hip dysplasia (CHD), epilepsy, and elbow dysplasia, and minor issues like von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD), cataract, Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD), entropion, and cruciate ligament rupture.
I feel lucky I don’t know what most of those things mean, but technically, The Bug should be on her last legs.
Now, she has slowed down a little bit, but she has never exhibited any signs of any real health problems.
I like to think I have had a significant role in that. I have always kept her very lean. She has a very fixed diet (with a judicious smattering of treats) and I give her plenty of exercise.
Still, there will come a time, and it will likely not be that far off when I will have to say goodbye to this most special of friends. If the reaper doesn’t get me first, of course.
I know when that day comes, I will be absolutely devastated. In fact, just thinking about it, I feel the sadness well up in my gut and expand until it almost engulfs me raising the question: why do we do it?
We invite these wonderful companions into our lives knowing full well it ends in heartache.
It doesn’t happen often, and I try not to dwell on it, but perhaps it is a good thing that it does.
It reminds me to seize the moment and love that dog as much as I can for as long as I can.
And that is something we should apply to all aspects of our impermanent lives.