* Her back legs are getting weaker. She tries but sometimes has problems controlling her bladder. And she has a heart murmur that's severe enough that the vet wouldn't risk putting her under in order to remove the growth on her gums or anywhere else on her body. And this is all making me realize that Betty's not going to be around forever. And that makes me want to cry. (I'm even tearing up writing this since the thought is one that truly scares me.)
I've had Betty for so long I can't even remember what live was like before she jumped in my arms at the shelter the day I went with Photogal so she could "just play with some puppies and give them some love." I NEVER expected to adopt a dog but when those baby beagle eyes looked into mine I realized I was already her dad. And we survived those first few years together when she destroyed just about everything she could get her teeth on. And the stint of her barking for eight hour stretches when I wasn't home, driving my poor neighbors close to the edge of madness. And it has all been worth it. Every single second.
Now, of course, my family has a history of pets living well beyond their expected lifespan. Our dog Scamp made it into either his late teens or early twenties, I'm not sure which. And GalPal has said she fully expects Betty will be around for another decade. I know she's just trying to reassure me she's in it for the long haul, no matter what happens.**
Of course I hope GalPal's right and Betty lives forever. And I hope that some of Betty's lumps, especially the one on her gums, deflate as other have. And I hope Betty's happy and her legs are just weak but don't hurt. And I hope I don't just completely fall apart the day that I realize our time together has ended.
*We've, of course, had these tested and all is benign. Thank god.
**GalPal took a while to warm to Betty, understandably since she moved in during Betty's extended spells of barking and peeing in the house, but now she loves her just as much as I do.