I grew up with dogs, but had never trained or had one solely under my care. When I was a kid, Hoka was my close friend and exploring buddy. There was no discipline or off-limits…That was moms to worry about.

Hoka died when I was 13, and we soon adopted a pretty 40lb collie mix. Her name was Honey because of her coloring. She was very sweet, but disappeared not long after we adopted her. Mom figured that Honey got taken down by coyotes.

We didn’t have another dog and I missed having that companion.

I adopted Alyosha doggie from a small run down shelter in southern Illinois when he was just a few months old in the Fall of 1999.

When he was two years old, a friend told me that my Border Collie mutt would probably start to mellow around age four or five. It wasn’t until he was in his double digits that I noticed any sign of him slowing down. He wouldn’t chase a ball all day – just half a day.

He’s getting old now. His eyes are getting cloudy and he has difficulty getting into the car.

He had a small seizure last month and it worried me, but it hasn’t happened again.

The other day he started to limp. It wasn’t a bad limp, but noticeable. I wondered if I should take him to the vet. But the limp seemed to resolve itself by the next morning, so I didn’t take him. That following evening, he started to limp again. And the next morning it was worse, so I called the vet.

Somehow, my 14-year-old dog managed to strain a ligament in his left front shoulder.
I am now tasked with keeping him on “bed rest” for at least two weeks.

Yeah, good luck with that.

I will do my best to keep him mellow.

When he was young, I could say with a decent amount of confidence, “oh, he’ll be fine.” But now, I don’t have that same confidence.

One of these days, and probably not too much longer, I will have to say goodbye to my dog. There is no way to prepare oneself for this eventuality. I can acknowledge it, and understand it, but only when he is gone will I feel the loss of my dear friend.

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