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A dog's life Carlos R. Davalos | Sat, Feb 22 2014 12:00 PM

Some mornings, the face staring back at me has a few more gray hairs than it did the night before. The eyes are darker. Heavier. Who the heck are you? I wonder.

The walk to the kitchen isn’t a trudge, but neither is it the quick and occasionally light-hearted bounce it was a short time ago. Mornings somehow seem colder than they used to be, even during this time of unseasonably warm temperatures. Stretching is a necessity now, a way to get the blood flowing through tired bones and muscles.

I see pictures and I don’t remember the details. Not immediately anyway. There we are on a hike, in the spring judging by the acres of wildflowers stretching into the horizon.

There’s another one of us at Mission Bay in the summer and still another one at my mom’s house some evening during a barbecue. I remember that night. It was a good night.

There aren’t any traces of worry in those images. No glimpses of concern about a recession or a struggling economy and bills. No indication that time matters, no recognition of how desperately fleeting each second is. 

And while “matters” is a relative term there’s no quibbling over the meaning of time flies. It does. Has. Even if you don’t understand.

The body that was once, believe it or not, sleek if not downright muscular is now rounder. Slower. It sags in posture.

Spring and Daylight Saving time are weeks away but maybe then, when the sun is out longer, there will be time to get out and exercise more. Play. Get back in shape. Look at all the pretty flowers and smell them.

But this couch is exquisitely comfortable. It conforms to every contour and sinks in all the right places. It is the best spot in the world to nap beneath the sun on a weekend afternoon. Or weekday evening. Leaving it, even only momentarily to go to the bathroom, requires dedication, determination and commitment.

But I can’t sit there forever. There is work that needs doing, checks that need earning and commitments that need making.

The dog, on the other hand, will stay on his side of the sofa as I go from room to room, getting ready for another day.

The gray hairs over his eyes rise and fall as he monitors my coming and going.

When he was a pup he’d bound after me from room to room, curious as the cat he terrorized. But now he’s content to sit on the couch—his couch I guess—and watch.

There’s a slight chance he’ll pour over the side and come to me before I leave for the day, but the onset of arthritis makes it painfully unlikely—unless I bribe him with a treat which I shouldn’t do because, as the vet said, he’s starting to resemble his owner.   So I leave him on the couch, the graying head rising long enough to watch me go out the door and bark. Once. Sending me off to my day.

It’s a dog’s life.

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