Our dog, Puddin’ Head, is a treasure. She has been the easiest dog in the world to have around. She has never pottied in the house, even when she was a puppy. She only barks if there is a reason, i.e. cars coming down the driveway, coyotes lurking near the house or cows getting in her face. She has always been independent, and although enjoys attention, she likes her personal space too.
She was a stray when we got her as a puppy, or rather she was abandoned, as someone had dropped her in the fenced back yard in town at a friend of our son’s. When our son brought home this scraggly little underfed Lab mixed with Lord only knows what puppy, it was one of those reluctant O.K., but you have to take care of her situations. Well, our son had blossomed into a young man and a few months after bringing the puppy home, he moved on to find his place in life, and the dog stayed.
At first, we were a little miffed at being saddled with another critter to take care of and feed, but she quickly endeared herself to us and we grew quite fond of her, and still wouldn’t trade her for anything.
As soon as she outgrew her puppy-snuggling days she became my husband’s dog — her choice — not mine. She likes me O.K., but she has always wanted to spend her time outdoors with the man of the house (apparently I didn’t get my alpha female licks in early enough). Anyway, I have always respected her decision, and I love her anyway.
Although, now that she is entering into her 14th year, the doggy universe as she has known it, has shifted, and she seems to be wanting to spend more time with me. I think perhaps she senses I am the nurturing one of the pack and she could use a little more of that now that her ears are no longer picking up sounds and her eyes are growing dim. Not that my husband isn’t nurturing. He would bring me a hearty bowl of chicken soup if I was in bed with the flu, but I don’t think I could talk him into holding me for hours while I’m PMSing. It would be more like a pat on the back, you know, like he gives the dog.
So in Puddin’ Head’s senior years, I coddle her like I did when she was a puppy. I give her special treats to disguise her doggy vitamins and soothe her tired body with long, loving strokes. She spends a lot more time in the house these days and often sits with her head in my lap while I work at the computer. Even so, her ears still perk up and her tail thumps the floor if she notices my husband putting on his coat to go outside. But more and more, she just sighs and shifts her weight to make herself more comfortable while I pet her head. It’s like she realizes some days she just doesn’t have the energy for running circles around the tractor and burrowing after ground squirrels, and she’s O.K. with that.
I guess it’s true, for everything there is a season and a time, and now is Puddin’ Head’s season to spend time with me, and I’m O.K. with that.