When my partner, Charlie, and I merged households a few years back, I arrived with a dog to add to the two he already had. Mine was a beagle named Riley, about four years old. He had two pugs—Grace and Emmit—about the same age.
Fast forward eleven years: Grace is no longer with us but we’ve since acquired a rescue pug named Kody.
The dogs are getting old. Really old. Riley just turned fifteen, Emmit will be fifteen in August. And in October Kody will reach the ripe old age of seventeen. Kind of like their owners: old, gray, and creaky.
We see them age before our eyes, each day they look noticeably older than the day before. There are lumps and bumps that weren’t there before. They hack and snort and fart as if desperately trying to expel the oldness. Their steps are slow and measured. They need steps and ramps to get on the bed or sofa. Kody can no longer climb at all and Charlie dutifully carries him almost everywhere.
Everyone in this household is getting old.
Except Jelly Bean. She entered our lives nearly two years ago, a tiny kitten needing a safe home who has turned life in this household on end. (Below is a picture from the day she arrived.)
While the rest of us battle age with ever-increasing weariness, Jelly Bean meets it head on with all the recklessness of youth. Have you ever seen a cat with the “zoomies”? They whiz past in a blur of fur, caroming off furniture, bunching up the rugs as they pass. Jelly Bean stands on her back legs at the front screen door as if wondering what life on the outside would be like, sits on the window sill chattering at the birds and the cats in the window next door. Her favorite napping spot is the pile of patio chair cushions in our back room.
Miss JB loves packing paper. Like a little kid she’ll tear open a package, ignore whatever is inside, and play with the box instead She wrestle swith zip ties and has a stash of them hidden under the rug.
The time is coming–soon I fear–when our dogs will cross that “Rainbow Bridge”. Will we get more? I say no, Charlie says absolutely yes. In the meantime we “old folk” gather for naps in the living room and wait for the inevitable assault on our toes by an eager kitty.