For your consideration - Thom Barker
For your consideration - Thom Barker

For your consideration - Thom Barker For your consideration - Thom Barker

A lesson on seizing the moment from a wise old dog

Thom faces the reality that he won’t have his beloved Bug forever and plans to make the most of it

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.