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The Benefits of a Sick Old Dog

May 7, 2022

My girl Lacey, a black Labrador, is twelve years old. She is recovering from a major GI tract infection. She got so sick two weeks ago that we almost lost her.

I used to powerwalk Lacey everyday. Fast fast. Far far. I’d often be on the phone the whole while. The world zoomed by. I didn’t really notice her. I was focused on the tons of ideas that my caffeinated brain was spinning for me like a whirling dervish.

Now that she’s in poor health, we walk very very slowly. I can’t be on the phone because I need to watch her like a hawk so that she doesn’t eat a stray chunk of bread or a discarded chicken bone. We saunter. We shuffle along. I absorb her every move.

And it’s kinda magical.

I am so connected to Lacey on these walks now that I love her more than ever. I can tell she feels it too. There’s a new level of gratitude in her eyes when she looks at me. I’m in tune with her sniffing. I notice the gloss of her fur, the whites of her eyes, her micro-moods. We are on the same slow planet where nothing else matters but putting one foot in front of the other and staying upright. I’m so grateful for this new pace, for this demand that I hyper-focus on the present moment with her. Because I get to be right here, right now, with this loved creature. And I’m all in.