Today is a big day at our house. Nine years ago, I didn’t know it would be, but eighteen months later, I started to get the idea. When Bunny was born, her predecessor was still alive and well. We were busy doing active things, and Treat was the same age then that Bunny is now. I always thought that Treat would be a spectacular diva in her senior years, but alas, she really didn’t live to see them. She acted like a young dog until five weeks before she died. Seeing Bunny turn nine years old is bittersweet.
On one hand, I think it’s impossible that she could be a senior dog already. She was little more than a puppy when I brought her home. Of course, she came home to live in a house full of senior dogs at the time, but she was always good with them. She had a penchant for wanting to lay on the bed beside Lilac, which Lilac hated, but she wasn’t badly behaved with any of the other dogs. Hawk took her under his wing and she made him a younger, happier dog for the next year and a half of his life before he died. She helped us all to heal from Treat’s loss in various ways, just by being herself.
Bunny was always an old soul. She has always possessed a gentleness of spirit that has made her a perfect companion in many ways. As a therapy dog and hospice volunteer, she is amazing. But she adapts to everyone she meets, whether it’s a young child, a wayward puppy or a senior citizen. I see different facets of her in all kinds of different situations.
Of course, the most important to me is how she’s been my companion through some tough times and other happy times. I have grown incredibly as a person through my association with this tiny little dog. I’ve met people I never would have, traveled to places I wouldn’t have gone and become a more confident and outgoing person because I’ve been on the other end of Bunny’s leash.
Often I wonder if things would have turned out differently if we’d chosen a different dog that day. One of the main reasons that I initially started this blog was that I wanted a place to chronicle her life. I wanted all the stories about her to be on one place so that I could revisit them. I never dreamed that other people would enjoy the stories about her and our other dogs as much as they do, though.
As much as I’d like to deny it, there are signs that Bunny is getting older. Her face has become adorably white, although she doesn’t seem to show any interest in slowing down. If we start getting out the hiking gear or showing signs of going somewhere, she is right there letting me know she wants to be included. She might walk the last stretch of the hike a little slower, but she is not lacking in enthusiasm for the journey. She just savors it a little more, smelling the smells and enjoying the sights.
I’ve also noticed a little more sass in her attitude lately. My polite, well-mannered little hound has recently started to get a little pushier about getting what she wants from us. Her go to move is to lay down beside you first, and wait patiently for you to share. However, lately I’ve noticed that if she doesn’t get results from that, she will stand up and stick her nose in between you and the object of her desire. I tell her to behave, but honestly, I plan to enjoy her senior years. She’s entering that stage that a lot of us are familiar with, when we cherish those good days, afraid that they are finite. We indulge them because we can and because they’ve earned it through years of companionship. We make promises to them to make each new year even sweeter.
I don’t see any reason to believe Bunny won’t be with us for a long time to come yet, but I am reminded of the promise I made to myself when Lilac got older to live so that there will be no regrets. As long as she wants to do things and keep going places and doing things, we will keep doing them. I prefer to view is as another year sweeter to another year older. Things have definitely progressed that way so far, and I consider myself extremely lucky that she chose me all those years ago.