We used to be a two-dog household, but our older dog, Yosha, died a few years ago. (Has it been five years? Wow.) Which was (quite) tough on Zippy for the first month or so, but he got used to the new state of affairs, and went back to his general good albeit mere mood. (And of course he never stopped being an extremely sweet dog.)

But Zippy was only three and a half years younger than Yosha; he’s 17 years old now, and while small dogs can live a long time, it’s not at all surprising that he’s showing his age.

Which, actually, he’s been doing for a couple of years now. He was diagnosed with Cushing’s disease; not a complete shock, Liesl’s mom had a dog who came down with that, so we were aware of the existence of the disease. And, fortunately, the vet noticed it early, and the medicine helped a lot, so he’s been quite stable.

Still, it’s meant that he has stiff legs, and is achier than he used to be. And it’s not the only way in which his body is falling apart: he’s almost completely blind from cataracts, and there’s a lot more poop and pee around than there used to be. He’s bearing up remarkably well, though, given all of his ailments: it was quite clear when Yosha wasn’t enjoying life any more, and Zippy isn’t at that place yet, he’s still happy to be around every morning.

I do wonder how much longer that’s going to last, though. His aches had been mostly under control as long as he ate his glucosamine tablet every day; these days, though, he always wakes up during the middle of the night, and while some of that might just be restlessness (or overheating or wanting a drink of water or needing to pee), frequently it’s achiness. In fact, it’s been about two months since I’ve slept through the night: Liesl is a sound sleeper, whereas I’ll wake up if Zippy makes any noise at all, so I end up spending a lot of time cuddling with him. (And playing video games, there’s a reason why my recent game play is more heavily weighted towards the iPad than it had been…)

So right now it’s a lot like having a baby in the house, and a slightly colicky one at that: a lot less sleep, a lot more cleaning up messes. Which is much better than the alternative: like I said, he’s happy to greet each day, he just doesn’t move a whole bunch and wants a lot of cuddling. And fortunately my coworkers are quite understanding about the not-infrequent days when I’ve been up for hours in the middle of the night and become completely unable to program part way through the afternoon.

And I’m very glad for the time that we have left with Zippy, however long that turns out to be.

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