Last night, Edsel and I did our usual routine, as he greatly enjoys a routine. Before dinner, we chased Blu about 159 times. You need two Blus for this game, because otherwise he won’t give the one in his lips back to you.
After he chases Blu so much that he eventually just walks it back, we give up and I enjoy watching his lips stretch while he pants enthusiastically.
I like watching Edsel do his dog things.
I got Edsel in the fall of 2010, the same day I got a new couch, and that was a mistake. I got him through Petfinder, through (and I hate hate hate this term) a rescue group. Despite the fact that he was not pulled from a burning high-rise, he was “rescued.” I wish I could remember the cockamamie name they had for him, but I do remember the woman who handed him over saying, “I didn’t think anyone would take this homely puppy.” And that’s how I came up with the name Edsel.
His mom was, allegedly, a white German shepherd, and his dad was a dog who hopped into the back yard and got to know mom. Bought her a bowl of water, asked her to dance the foxhound trot. They did the Boxer step. Did the stanky leg.
Anyway, he knocked her up, the brute, and while I have no idea how many were in his litter, I do know Edsel was a result.
This was way up in the mountains, in Mount Airy, which is where Mayberry from The Andy Griffith Show was based. The whole damn town is Andy Griffith-y now, but it’s a sweet little part of the state and who knew there was dirty dog sex happening while Aunt Bea baked pies.
He was sedate, I mean really sedate, when I met him. He was just sitting on the lap of an old lady who they told me had dementia. He was similarly sedate as he slept on me the whole drive home. I remember Tallulah barking like an idiot when I introduced them, but she was harmless. (Unlike some dogs.)
Soon they were thick as thieves. And by that I mean Talu put up with Edsel, and Edsel fekking adored her. Oh, god, he loved her. He’d sleep on her hip as soon as he was convinced that she was asleep and would no longer growl when he did it. He watched her every move and wanted to be as cool as her so bad.
I miss them together. That’s why I lost my mind when she died and kept trying to get him another friend. I loved the two of them as a duo, even though I think Tallulah technically never forgave me for bringing an Edsel into our lives.
Anyway, for years Edsel was what you’d call …exuberant. People would come over and he’d bark and he’d jump and he’d wiggle and he’d not calm down about it for the first two hours.
“I knew a dog like that. He never did calm down,” people would say. Why do people say such terrible things? Back when I actually had a cubicle, a thing I miss every day the way some women miss their man at sea, the woman in the next cube was pregnant, and 46 times a day someone would come in there and tell her a birthing horror story. Why?
But you know what? The last year or two, that exuberance is gone. You tell Edsel to stay, he stays. I put up a gate when I go to work, so Eds won’t sit on the couch. One day Milhous knocked the gate over, and I know this because I saw him tear off, but there was Eds, standing still behind where the gate had been. He wasn’t going to break the rules.
He’s a calmer dog now, and still the most sensitive creature on earth. I’ll just THINK an angry thing and he curls into a letter C. I think he spends the whole time I’m home just monitoring my moods, which right there is a full-time job.
He’s more careful when he moves now, more deliberate. I see him hesitate when he jumps on something. I told the vet, so now Eds is on three kinds of supplements to help with his hips, which are just getting old. Wearing out.
He’s a medium-sized dog, and according to a chart, he’s 56. For the first time, Eds and I are kind of the same age. His snout is whitening, and his joints are stiffening. I feel him on this.
Last night, after our Blu chase, when he squatted to poop, his legs gave out for a second. “Oh, Edsel, you okay?” I asked. He looked at me and I knew he was saying yes, because I’ve realized lately how much we talk without talking. He has a go-outside schedule, but if he ever has to go off schedule, the way he walks up to me tells me. I always just know, from even seeing him out of the corner of my eye. “Do you have to go–” is all I have to say, and he’s halfway to the door already.
He knows when I’m getting ready for bed and usually is already in there, making a nest with his pillow when I climb in. Last night he was standing next to the bed. He kept lifting his front legs, but for the first time, his back legs just wouldn’t do it.
I picked him up and put him on the bed. He seemed sad about this latest indignity. I stroked his head and told him I’d always help him onto the bed if he needed it. And that I’d make sure he had as few aches and pains as we can get away with.
Today I’ll call the vet. Her first instinct is to give my pets some hippie natural stuff first, and I appreciate that, but I think we may need something stronger now. And maybe a little less Blu chasing.
He’s outside right now with his new best friend, walking carefully in my velvety grass, sniffing the bees in the pear tree and letting the sun rise onto his old bones.
Tallulah died so young and so tragically. It was three months from her first symptoms to her death. I didn’t have time to even think about it, and I’m still in disbelief three years later.
I feel honored to be with Edsel as he ages. I look forward to doing all I can to make him comfortable. He’s always been there to help me, and I will do the same for him.
That’s what friends do.
P.S. Thank you for your tips yesterday. Kitten is still at shelter, where they are testing him for stuff. Now when they DO return him to me, I’ll feel less worried when they say he needs raw duck meat or whatever. I have it to give to him!