Time has been kind to Sam, Sam, The Happy Hound. From his horrible and torturous puppyhood, Sam has lived a very good life. No one has hit him. No one has deserted him. No one has starved him. It is sad to mark an animal’s life in contrast to deprivation and abuse but there it is. There is little more than Sam could have hoped for and very little he appreciates in a larger fashion than he does simply having enough to eat.
Yet as time has given time also takes away. Sam is going blind. Sam is becoming deaf. Sam’s motor skills are degenerating. In short, Sam is aging. His jet black hair is white around his muzzle. Sam’s gait is unsure now. The urgency for the hunt is muted and Sam no longer streaks across the yard like the black torpedo that gave armadillos nightmares. Sam is aging.
I’ve started training the two younger dogs not to exit the building like it’s on fire. If Sam gets in the way of the Mutt Tsunami he can get a leg broken or worse. Now, Sam goes out first and the other two have to wait until Sam is off the steps. We have to adapt to the Elder One. They do not like it much but it is in the nature of the Loki Mutt to obey. Lillith likes it less but the “stay” command is one she is beginning to understand. It has to be this way if Sam is to survive getting out of the house.
Sam has also begun to stop in front of me and that causes me to either run into him or have to push him out of the way. I’m learning to catch Sam as he’s approaching me and cutting hard to one side so I go to one side of him rather than into him. This confuses Sam and it makes it look like I’m avoiding him so I have also started to stop and pet him when he isn’t expecting it. Age is making Sam feel less secure as far as his place in the pack goes.
Sam’s mobility is becoming an issue because it takes him longer to stand up, longer to get moving, longer to get to the door, longer to get out of the way, and the younger dogs understand this as well as I do. Lucas got pushed to the ground and scolded by me for pushing Sam one day and since that last time he hasn’t done it again. Lillith has always treated Sam with a lot of respect but she will still lick his muzzle more than he likes. Lillith loves her Elder Mutt. The first little girl dog to arrive here has been a total success.
I wondered if I was going to be able to get Sam past this Summer. It has been a very cool Summer with very few triple digit days. An aging hound has been given a break from the weather and I hope that next Summer will be gentle to him as well. Sam is over twelve years old now and he’s showing it in many ways. Sam no longer eats as fast or as much as he once did. Sam sleep more, runs less and doesn’t chase ball anymore. Sam was once a very active and playful dog but now he is content to watch. I saw this in Bert in his final years.
Right now, I would have to say that Sam will live at least until next Summer. Sam is a hardcore survivor of Hell. He’s been through much worse than most people realize is out there. Sam has hung on when there was no reason to think things would or could get better.
Sam is a lesson in endurance and resiliency. I hope you never have to learn it the way Sam did.