Last week my great aunt Mary passed away at the respectable age of 92. She lived a very rich life and lived in her own house, until the last three weeks of her life, which she spend in a hospice.
The dictionairy states 'a hospice is a home providing care for the sick or terminally ill.'
This made me come to the realisation that in a way, our home is currently a hospice too. Some people have a vision of hospices as quiet and gloomy places where the very ill go to spend their final days. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, hospices are full of life and compassion. And it’s not like being in a hospital.
This practically describes our home, apart from the fact that we didn't have to move location ;)
Last Saturday it was exactly 8,5 years ago I got to pick up my girl from the breeder. Amazing how quick these years have passed. Seems like only yesterday I held my (then tiny) girl in my arms and started our adventure together.
When she was only two years old, she was diagnosed with severe Spondylosis - a painful condition of the spine resulting from the degeneration of the intervertebral discs. When diagnosed our vet told me that I would be extremely lucky if she got to life to the age of six. It was like he handed me a grenade with a set timer and my carefree days where over...
As you can probably imagine, we lived live to the max, not knowing when it would end, but kind of knowing the finish line would be crossed on or before January 5th 2016. Little did I know that we are granted loads of bonus time (as I tend to call it)! Yeeeeeyyyy!!!
The last two weeks I have been off work (my regulare fulltime job), so I got to spend most of my time non-stop with my girl. Of course I know that she is getting old, but spending that much consecutive time with her made me realize just how old...
Please don't get me wrong; I feel super blessed that she is still with me and it is completely okay that she is showing signs of old age. But is is pretty confronting to say the least.
She is slowing down, she is losing strength in her hind legs, she has less stamina and she takes more brakes.
But she still wags her tail. She still insists on bringing her tennis ball with her on the afternoon walks, she still digs holes (be it somewhat slower). She still 'corrects' her friend Jansen the Lab when he doesn't listen when being called. She still enjoys her favorite meals and treats. But most important of all...she still has that sparkle in her eyes. So no, it's not her time yet...!
With that being said; I hope we get to enjoy many more days and nights together in our home/hospice. I know I will do what's needed when the sparkle fades. Because that too is how you show your dog you truly love and appreciate them...