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#42 The World Will Never Ever Be the Same

Sixteen years ago I tagged along with my friend Alisha to pick up a puppy from a farm in Lancaster. I never pass up a chance for an adventure with Alisha, and heading out to Amish country to visit puppies is in my top 5 favorite things to do (Amish not required). The minute we walked through the door I turned to my friend and said, “Do NOT let me get a dog today.” Then I threw myself into a pile of squiggling puppies.

A few days later and I was still high on nose boops and googling “WHAT KIND OF DOG IS BEST FOR TEENY TINY APARTMENTS?” I finally called Alisha and said, “Feel like taking a ride out to Amish country?”

I approached a crate of slumbering pups, hoping they’d wake up. Out of the pile, one little doggo raised her head, looked me in the eye, and came bounding up over her bunkmates. She leapt into my arms and blinked her long eyelashes at me. I’ve heard that dogs choose their people. I think I can safely say Delilah definitely chose me.

Over the last 16 years, Delilah has been the constant in my life. She’s been with me through 5 moves, 2 international relocations where she stayed safely stateside, and the deaths of my parents. After the accident that left me with a broken back and a 2 month medical leave of absence, she nursed me back to health and tolerated the endless parade of visitors who came every day.

She runs a tight ship.

She's destroyed toys, furniture, and bedding. She’s never met a rug she didn’t like (to pee on.) She’s still hasn’t forgiven me for not figuring out social media early enough to make her Insta-famous.

Now that she’s elder stateswoman, Delilah has slowed down quite a bit. She requires fewer walks and more pills. She has arthritis and is missing a few teeth. Her heart is big, too big, actually, and chronically failing. The meds make her pee even more triumphantly than ever, which forced me into the wilds of influencer marketing to get just the right pee-proof cover for my bed.

Sometimes she sleeps so heavily that I check to make sure she’s still breathing.

Being home with Delilah over the last 5 months has bonded us even closer. I’m rarely out of her eyesight. When I leave to go to the grocery store, she paces the apartment, refusing to settle until I’m home. We went out for several hours last week and when we returned, she looked like she’d run a marathon. She was exhausted and her eyes were wild with “where the hell have you been???” energy. She slept on top of me that night, as if to ensure that I couldn’t escape again.

Over the last couple of weeks, she’s briefly forgotten how doors work, how to eat out of her bowl, how not to tumble right off the bed onto the hard wood floor.

Going to vet during COVID is strange. They don’t allow humans in, so I have to surrender Delilah at the door and then the Vet calls me while he conducts the exam.

At our last visit a few months ago, he called Delilah “a spunky old lady.”

At today’s visit, the Vet said, “Well, she’s 16. Which is about as old as dogs get.”

But then, “I mean, she’s not perfect. But she’s as perfect as you can expect at this point. So enjoy her.”

I don’t know how long I’ll have this little queen with me. But I’m at her service for as long as she’ll have me.



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