Nala is our yellow lab and she's pretty old now.
Most of her life, she's definitely been what you call your quintessential Labrador retriever.
Meaning that she would lick all faces, stick her nose in all crotches and chase any and all balls thrown (preferably in the water).
Not a mean bone in her body, she always welcomed everyone along with her sister Sierra who passed away two years ago.
Poor old Nala is winding down now, though. She's got some physical problems that are just compounded by her age, though she still loves to eat (particularly in the morning when I share my strawberries with her) and get pats.
I know that a lot of the time, she's not too keen on her day as our slippery wood floors and linoleum in the kitchen are too much for her back legs, and her fatty tumor (benign) on her side makes it tough for her to get around.
"Quality of life" is what the vet says when they tell you that's when you know you have to let your pet go, or at least be considering it seriously. Of course a dog or a cat can't say, "hey, man, I've just about had enough" or whatever. Hell, people don't necessarily do that, either.
We had to do just that twice in the same year in 2007 and it's not easy. And I know that it won't be too long that we'll have to do the same again. I'll tell you, she's a tough one for such a sweet dog, though.
She barks to make sure I know to get over there and help her get up so she can power over into the kitchen in case something falls from the heavens especially made for dogs. Meaning anything. And she's right there waiting at dinnertime as well. Some things have not changed, as I noted..
My [f]unemployment has been a mixed blessing in one respect. I have been able to be with her far more than I would have normally, of course, but also in that I have NEEDED to be here at times when she just plain can't get up when stranded in the middle of oak floorboards or needs a hand back inside the house after a quick trip for a drink or one more landmine.
That's one thing about life, I've noticed. Just when you think you're cruising along, reality can and will punch you right in the balls.
But I'm glad that I have been able to spend more time with my dog; she's certainly brought a lot of light and love into our lives and those memories will always be there.
I had a look in the fridge a bit ago. There are just enough strawberries left for the two of us tomorrow morning.