A banner day

Dear President Biden,

We had, what was for us, a banner day yesterday, starting with our dog walk in the morning. By now you know that weekend mornings are almost always given over to “the dog walk” so normally it wouldn’t be a big deal that our Sunday morning started out with one. However, what I didn’t share with you last week is that our old dog, Lizzie, who is almost 14, tore the ACL on her left hind-leg on Monday. She had already developed significant weakness in her hindquarters from a progressive neuralgia so not being able to bear much weight on that back left leg was pretty devastating when it first happened. Plus, we didn’t know what it was she did until we could get her into the vet on Thursday (COVID has made getting into the vet quickly all but impossible because so many people have gotten new pets). We really thought we were going to lose her this week.

She may not be much longer for this world, but for now she’s stabilized on some more pain meds and we’ve figured out how to support her backend with the clever sling Laura had the foresight to purchase a couple of months ago. She can actually move incredibly fast with one of us holding her up. Her toilet-M.O. now is to hobble to the door, announce she needs to go out, prance a bit while the sling is placed and the door is opened, and then bolt down the porch stairs that include a full switchback, which requires a deft hand- and side-of-dog-change by whichever of us is answering the call of dog-duty. Once in the yard she’ll do a lengthy, trembly squat to pee, and then more often than not she’ll do her must-run-like-a-bat-out-of-hell circling of the yard before she can finally poop. Mind you, our yard includes a pretty hefty Russian olive tree in the center, which for her, makes a great thing to run around, but for us is tricky as all get out to avoid getting slashed (the frothy, droopy branches are studded with long sharp thorns that would leave nasty gashes on faces and necks).

And, we are beyond grateful that she’s up for all this and that we are both working from home and can tag-team to help keep her going for as long as she has the capacity to keep going.

Saturday morning we just piled the dogs into the car and went for “a drive” to the grocery store and then straight back home. We didn’t even take the leashes with us. But yesterday we figured we’d see what happened if we tried going for just a block-long walk. Well, Miss Lizzie was so incredibly happy to be out and about that it was hard to get her to turn around to head back to the car (the weekend morning car ride is super key to the other dog so that couldn’t be by-passed). She crashed most of the rest of the day but was up for a half-block walk out the back door in the evening.

In addition to the two walks we didn’t think Lizzie would ever be able to take again, Laura “did the stairs” (which means climbing and descending an ungodly number of flights of steep stairs in Capitol Hill a lot of times) for the first time in 15 months, we got take-out from one of our favorite restaurants, and ended the day with a rousing game of Scrabble.

A banner day, indeed.

It doesn’t take much. And I’m grateful.

May we all be safe to have our banner days.
May those of us who shade towards entitled, be willing to dial down expectations and dial up gratitude.
May we strengthen and build our capacity for gratitude.
May we accept and appreciate the little hits of joy a happy old dog can deliver.

Tracy Simpson

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