Friday, November 20, 2020

Growing Old With Him

 I went to feed the dogs tonight.  Cap, my 11 (almost) male Brit, accompanied me to the barn.  Over the last few years, with three eye operations, he's become a house dog, and goes just about everywhere with me.  As I fed the younger dogs, the three year old, Blue, jumping and running and bouncing in anticipation of being fed, and the older ones, Shack and Pearl, at six, and Ruby, nearing 11 herself, turned circles and were excited.  Cap laid down on the gravel of the barn.  He was,  no doubt, reminding the pack that the house dogs get fed in the morning without all the drama.  

3XNSTRA CH FlyBoy Ace's Delta Captain (Cap)

I took a minute and sat down outside the barn.  Returning  a few quail calls to the birds in the call-back pen, I saw Cap's white, little stub disappear around the corner of the pine trees.  "Cap!" I yelled to him.  Dutifully, he turned and trotted over to put his front legs in my lap, disappointed he wouldn't be able to chase a few deer or gnaw on a leg bone from an old carcass on the creek. 

Loving on the old-timer for a few minutes, I noticed, in the setting sun, the gray on the muzzle, the broken lower canine tooth, and the glass eye (the result of a spine from some bush in New Mexico). Far from being a being a sad time, I laughed and said to him, "We make a pair, don't we buddy?  I can't hear, but about half what people say, you can only see out of that left eye, and we are both limping all the time.  Do you think you'll be up to hunting Arizona and New Mexico in a few weeks?"  As plainly as a dog can talk, he looked me in the eye and said, "I'll be there.  Do you want your best dog on the ground, Old Man?  I'm the best you have, and I might be the best you'll ever have.  I suggest you keep the gun loaded, and turn up those ears so you can hear the pager when I point.  I'm not eating canned ALPO, yet!" 

Chuckling, I heaved myself out of the chair, and we eased back to the house.  Cap ran ahead looking for that blasted cat.