12 to 14 years
I woke up this morning to the sound of my dog snoring. Every time I hear that funny low grumble I giggle to myself at how content he looks with this chest moving up and down like a small bellows. These days I am grateful for that sound. Lucky has been with me now for 13 years. The internet says the average lifespan of an English Cocker Spaniel is 12 to 14 years. If that’s true then this year he will have reached the last stop on the route of his life. When that day comes it will be a sad one indeed because he's been with me for so long he's become family.
It’s funny how animals from different species can bond the way that Lucky and I have. I wonder if he ever stopped to think about the fact that he was a dog living with humans. I wonder if there are other animals in the world that can create the same type of relationship that humans and animals have. Have you ever seen a gorilla with a pet? Neither have I but they say that of all the animals, dolphins are the ones who could think like humans. We know they use pufferfish to get high. It’s true. A bunch of delinquent dolphins get together, nab a blowfish, and pass it around a circle. If anyone in the animal kingdom was likely to have a pet, it has to be the dolphin.
Maybe I have the whole story backwards. Maybe I am the pet and Lucky has masterfully trained me to feed him and take care of him. If it’s true then it is the greatest hoodwink in history. Right now, things are so peaceful for the old dog. He doesn’t have to worry about doing battle because he peed on another dog’s turf marker. His head is resting comfortably on a microfiber blanket I ordered for him on Amazon. It’s softer than rocks, twigs and pebbles.
It’s really weird but I feel like the older he gets the more I can understand his language. He speaks to me using a kind of telepathic messaging system. I can tell, for example, that his water bowl is empty just by the way he slightly tilts his head while he stares me in the eyes. I know when he is so full of piss he is about to explode by the way he comes to rest his head on my lap as he lets out a high-pitched sigh.
He’s been sassy lately. Old age has made him uppity. He knows the word no. He has been hearing it his whole life. Lately, when I say “No!” he turns around and looks at me as if to say “Yes!”. Maybe he knows he is at the end of his timeline and has nothing left to lose.
Now I’m scared. With his newfound impudence, Lucky may well launch a strike on the house to get revenge for all the things he has been denied, like extra treats, food from the table, chasing the neighbor’s cat, and relieving himself wherever and whenever he likes. One day, I am going to come home to a mine field of shit surrounding lakes of piss. He will be at the far end of the room gnawing on a bone he has stolen from the garbage. The way his shoulder will slant to one side and the slightly German Shepard shift of his head will say “What are you going to do about it Human?”
Maybe this experience I am having now is the dream and Lucky is the one sitting in a chair making it all happen without leaving the smallest detail undone, not even his own snores.