Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Signs of growing old

Bear is 8 years old now. We got him in December of 2001 when he was 2 months old. He was the cutest puppy I have ever seen. Look at that CUTE face!!! His legs were short compared to his round body and he kind of had to waddle the first couple of weeks we had him. It didn't slow him down though! He was always a spitfire. He has always been full of mischeviousness and he does have a cute personality....unfortunately, it comes with a side of meanness when he feels it needs it.
Our first pic of Bear. Back then, he could fit on Adam's shoulder. I remember crying to Adam a couple weeks after getting him that I couldn't live for 15 years with that monster. He had already developed a mean streak that neither of us could control. He was super destructive and his little, sharp teeth made contact quite often.

Bear's first Christmas....it was a lot of work running to everyone and playing with wrapping paper, bows and ribbon. He spent the day at Barry and Lanette's with their dogs.

He could always sleep anywhere and in places that seem very uncomfortable to me. Shortly after this picture, Bear came down with kennel cough. He was miserable and couldn't breath so he just laid there day after day, coughing. It was so sad. It was then that I feel into his trap. He had me wrapped around his paw.

He got better and was back to his old ways. He has figured out that there's a treat in the jar and he was trying to figure out how to open the jar so he could help himself. The color on his face, ears and paws was growing out into his current color. I was sad to see it go. I really liked the coloring of his puppyhood. His ears are still a bit gray so he retained just a little of it just for me. ;o)

Any chance Bear has to get muddy, he takes it. I let him out one day and came out later to find him like this! He was so happy! (This is no ordinary mud, mind you...this is Georgia red clay that stains instantly. Can you say orange carpet??)He still likes to get muddy on occassion. In fact, I've had to give him a bath every few days recently since there was a puddle in the backyard. I finally dug a drainage ditch for it this weekend so it was drying out...but it's raining again so we'll see.

I've grown accustomed to living with Bear...as long as he's not biting me or one of the other dogs, I can deal with his moods pretty effectively. He has settled down some as he's grown older. He still doesn't like kids but can stand to be in the same room with them if they give him plenty of space. He still hates dogs and tries to chase them all down so he might show them who the alpha dog truly is. He hates getting his fur trimmed but no longer feels the need to bite my hand off when I take the pile of fur away from him, then eat as much as he can before I collect it again. (A behavior I never understood.) He has basically resigned himself to the fact that Tucker is here to stay and that he is no longer the sole owner of the rawhides and tennis balls. He still loves to run as much as I can manage to let him.

This is Bear after a bike ride in Wanship and his fill of snow...he was a happy boy!

But things are starting to change. He very rarely wants to play with his basketball these days (though some of that has to do with the awful yard). He doesn't really like spending a whole lot of time outside either. He almost always heads up to bed when I leave for work rather than jumping to go outside. He can only chase the tennis balls I toss for a few minutes before he has to lay down to rest. But the saddest change of all came just a few weeks after I decided Bear would break the world record for fastest bike ride with a dog. His rear legs started shaking when he really exerts himself. He is fine with my running speed but when we got out on the bike and he reaches 15-16 MPH, by the time we make it up to the top of the subdivision, his legs are shaking so badly. We rest until they stop and we finish our ride. I don't know if he realizes that they're shaking because he ran hard. He doesn't seem to care...he just keeps running fast.

Through all the ways he has hurt me, or Adam, or the other dogs, or the bad attitude he's shown to family and visitors I really do love him and I am very sad to have been reminded that his time is coming....it's still sometime off, I'm sure. But it's never an easy thing to be reminded of how short the time I will have with him (and my other dogs) is. I just hope that the shake remains a minor thing and that Bear will be able to run long intop his life and do the one thing that makes him happy.

Bear believes he can conquer anything...here, he's contemplating the best way to pull me and my bike up that hill on one of our last rides in Wanship.

I've decided against trying to break the record with Bear. It's just too much for him. But we do go out for rides still...I just have to make sure he doesn't go as fast as he'd like to and that he rests more often.

1 comment:

Valerie said...

So many cute photos of Bear. I had no idea he was starting to get weaker. I hope he'll be okay for a long time.

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