I can’t believe in five years, Rico’s face has gone from this …
… to this …
He will only be six years old in January. Isn’t he too young for that?
I like to think of myself as a strong, smart woman, but the sight turns me to mush, forcing me to acknowledge his mortality. Someday, there will be a world with no Rico Bear.
I can’t cling to his youthful past by covering his grays. But I don’t want to live dreading the inevitable future either.
And, unlike weak-minded people who would rather dump their aging pets at the local animal shelter—hence the need to declare November Adopt-A-Senior-Pet Month—abandoning Rico is unthinkable. Without question, I will face that pain in the future so that he can live healthy and happy now.
So that leaves me with the present. It’s the only safe place to be emotionally.
It takes ongoing practice, but I’ve been replacing my fearful thoughts with what’s in front of me right now. That would be two incredibly funny, unconditionally loving characters for whom I would move mountains.
Slowly but surely, the graying faces of Rico and Roxy remind me to hug them every chance I get instead of hurrying past them. They remind me not to settle for a quick pat on their heads when I could take a few extra seconds and scratch their bellies. And when they come prancing around my office door every day at 5 p.m. sharp, I muster up the energy for a walk.
Always express love, never settle, and always make the healthy choice … that’s what gray hairs mean to me now.
I’m not always successful at remembering this. But when I am, I feel grateful, appreciative, and alive. I also feel relief knowing that when R&R close their eyes one last time, they will go with love—the love I give to them and the love they give to me.
Living in the present, I believe, is the “present” all senior pets give to us.
May you be happy. May you be peaceful. May you be free from suffering.
Thank you for stopping by.