I've been reading the book Marley and Me. I wanted to take my kids to see the movie, but a friend warned me about the sad, I-should've-figured-that ending. Still, though, the trailers reminded me of our early days with our sweet Lab and I just wanted to see what it was all about it. So I got the book at the library. Three weeks ago.
I couldn't put the book down during the first few chapters. I'd tell my husband about things puppy Marley did that were surprisingly identical to things puppy Ezra did, so much so I figured the author must have had a secret spy camera aimed directly on our old Eighth Street house and was stealing all of our good material. Seriously. I could've written that book. And it would be ME being paid exorbitantly for the film rights.
Marley couldn't sleep his first night home, neither could Ezra. Marley's person gave up and brought him into his bedroom. So did we. Marley was terrified of thunderstorms, so is Ezra. Marley stood watch over the newborn babies. Ditto Ez. I could go on and on. It was fun reading the reminders of the little things I'd forgotten (or chosen to forget) after three tiny children invaded our lives bumping our big black baby back down to family dog status.
Toward the end of the book, Marley's family moves (We did too!). They begin to notice his gray hairs (yep) and maybe, just maybe, he's not hearing and seeing them as well as he used to (hmmmm). Then they start having to let him out in the middle of the night to relieve himself and helping up steps.
That's where I stopped reading. I can't read anymore. Oh, it'd be quick and easy to finish, there's only a few pages left. But I can't read anymore.
A few weeks ago, Ezra tripped going over a curb. Last weekend, he started having accidents in "his room" at night. The first time I attributed it to a random accident. The second time I figured it was unavoidable after gorging himself on all the wasted birthday hot dogs he swiped from the garbage cans. I mean, it could be that, right? He was fine for a couple of days, whining loudly enough to wake us a couple of nights to send him out and do his business, but last night he broke free. In more ways than one. Sigh.
But he's okay! My sister's dog has needed a midnight walk since she was a puppy. This is normal. He's young. He's only ten! For three more weeks.
I see him peering at me from the back door. Freezing his poor pampered tushy off in the 36 degree weather under a huge sign telling me DO! NOT! BRING! EZRA! IN! HE! IS! INCONTINENT! and he looks fine. He's smiling even. Smiling that sweet little Lab smile to convince me how cute he'll be inside lying at our feet. And I want him at my feet. I need him at my feet. But I am banned.
The book tells me I only have about twenty pages left. The vet told us this summer that, WOW!, he's lived long for a full-bred dog. TEN! We're so lucky.
And we have been lucky. For all of Ezra's mischief, he's been a good a faithful companion. He still barks to warn me of a random children climbing onto counters. He barks when the kids swing too high. He gets between the kids and strangers on walks and leers at them menacingly, at least until they pet him. But the hard truth is he's old. He's almost eleven. He has a hard time standing sometimes. He has cataracts. He barks at random phantoms. He's apparently become incontinent. He's become an old dog.
I don't think I can bring myself to read those last twenty pages. I just don't think I want to know what comes next. For now, aside from the obvious hygiene issues, he seems to be doing pretty well. He can still fetch the Frisbee and catch it most of the time. He still wags himself silly when the kids just speak to him. But I know he's not getting any younger.
My heart hurts thinking about it, but I still have twenty more pages.
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