Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Solstice at the beach: may have been the last time

Inspired by some friends, we drove out to Muir Beach last night after dinner.  It seemed like a fitting way to observe the longest day of the year, but really mostly we went so we could take Jasper, our sweetheart beloved dog who will be 13 on the Fourth of July.  Jassie loves the beach.

Time with Jasper has felt super-precious lately.  Just under the surface is always this painful awareness that his span will necessarily be shorter than ours.  We have loved every change he has gone through, celebrated the turning gray under the chin and around the eyes, the slowing down from his frantic puppy pace.  And still, through all of that, he's been a remarkably fit and energetic dog, often mistaken for a puppy, playful, inquisitive, delightful.

Over the past week and a half we've been noticing something not right about his left rear leg, stiffness when he gets up, some very straight-legged walking about.  Clearly the hips are not what they were.  Poor Mr. Gray Beard.  At least he never stops getting cuter.  May we all be so lucky.

Last night at the beach there were definitely things that were hard for him, places where we worried about his welfare as we never have, knowing that he didn't have the full force of all four legs to get him out of a jam.  He definitely didn't play as long or as hard.  At a certain point we made the decision to leave, even though he probably had more play in him, in the interest of not wearing him out, setting him up for injury.

Back at the car, he missed the jump into the back and had to be lifted in.

Joe is undoubtedly right that this is more painful for us than it is for Jasper Bacon Trelaun.  I have to imagine that Jasper himself is surprised when he misses a jump or his legs slip a little under him, although I doubt he feels sad about it the way we do, as we fast-forward in our imaginations to what we fear comes next.  Nope, he just lays himself down on his big soggy pillow and enjoys the ride.

So much joy in every moment.  Don't fast-forward.  Love what's in front of you.

There is so much to be learned from loving an animal as fiercely as we love Jas.  We truly celebrate all that he has given us and still gives us.

And now, time for a walk.


Sally Shannon said...

Hi Arlane. Thank you for your continuing posts and elegant. accessible writing. I am moved by today's tender and insightful post. As another lover and rescuer of animals (officially and beachside) I related to much of what you wrote. What a bright spirit is Jasper. On a deeper level, I am a meditator of 35+ years and continue to sit to practice being present, like Jasper is.

I'm also working with a group to educate and motivate people to do their advance planning. Part of that work involves freeing ourselves from death-fear and to rest in peace before we die; and to embrace the present and celebrate what it holds, whether painful, delightful. or curious.

Seems that Jasper lives in that space and inspires me today. Thank you, Ariane and Jasper, for the gift.

I will put a link to your post on our ning.net group. If you'd like to know more, shoot me an email!


Sally Shannon said...

PS - Email = sallyshannon@earthlink.net. Baby-blogger and don't know all the ins and outs of linking and so forth. Sally