We've had two dogs around here for many years. Most of the time, their ages were staggered, one older than the other. Currently, both of the Anderson Dogs are older, about the same age, with attendant physical problems.
Both came from the Humane Society, by the way. I always recommend them as the BEST place to adopt.
BoyDog joined us in 2000, and he was somewhere between five and seven years old then, which makes him at least eleven now. He had a lot of grey on him even back then...and he's greyer now. He's an Old Dog, still cool, just slower. BoyDog wakes up a lot like I do these days...slow and grumpy. Recently he's developed a problem with hard kibble and we've replaced that for him with canned dogfood, easier for him to chew. He's a medium-sized mutt, about 45 pounds, a toucher and a leaner, and lives to be loved and rubbed. I'm always happy to provide that.
Lucy, The Dog You Can See From Outer Space, came to her home here as a one year old in March of 1997, so she's ten this year. Lucy is a German Shepherd/Yellow Lab mix and weighed 90 pounds the day I adopted her; since then, the Yellow Lab in her has taken over and she checks in these days at about 135 pounds. She's a big girl. And with big dogs come problems, most often leg and hip troubles.
Both of them make a point of spending most of their day surrounding my feet, especially if there's a rainstorm with thunder. My office is downstairs and so they have to "climb the wooden hill" to be with me, whether I'm working downstairs or up. BoyDog is still (once he's awakened) pretty good on the stairs; Lucy has had for some time a degree of difficulty, so I make a point of providing her with assistance both up and down.
Today while I was making pasta and potato salads, Lucy decided she'd make the climb all by herself. It was not the best move she'd ever made.
I heard her during the final few clumps of her huge paws as she approached the living room and ran out to make sure she was okay. She wasn't.
I got to the steps just in time to see her eyes widen with fright as she lost rear-foot traction on the steps and she began to slide back down the steps. Don't ever tell me that a dog can't express emotions facially...
Now, these days, I have some mobility issues myself, but I hustled down the steps beside her, grabbing her collar to slow her backward descent, intending to get behind her and support her from the back until she got her feet in place again.
Thump, thump, thump...she slid down three steps...thump, thump, thump, thump...she slid down four more, with me still holding onto her collar.
And then her collar slipped off.
Thump, thump, thump...and she was on the landing, looking as dazed and confused as any human would look in that situation, one paw on the first step and the rest of her corpulent self on the landing, sideways.
Trooper that she is, Lucy shook it off and got back on the steps. This time I was behind her, providing the support she needed. We got to the top, she looked back at me as if she finally got what all that other support up and down had been about and headed for the back yard.
Now that Summer's almost here, the dogs will want to spend most of their time in the cooler downstairs. The baby gate goes back in place tomorrow.