After losing my last Boxer, Lucy Annabel, at just 8 1/2 years of age, having Gideon still with me at 11 feels like a bonus in many ways. Boxers usually live to 10-12 years of age, but cancer often takes them down sooner.
I adopted Giddy a couple months after Lucy's death. I say that "I" adopted him because he's always been my boy. "Who's the goodest good boy in the whole world?" I ask him. "Who's my sweet puppy?" He looks up at me with increasingly cloudy eyes with an expression that seems to acknowledge that he's definitely the goodest good boy. I love that old grey face, but it breaks my heart a little, too.
Gideon doesn't have all of the skills that Lucy had. She was an excellent spooner, for example. If I was in bed watching TV, she would circle once and always end up in just the right spot. Gideon tries but mostly steps on my boob and stuff. Lucy won countless medals in Obedience and Agility. Gideon still isn't convinced that heeling means walking on my left side.
In some ways, his age has no effect on him. He still jumps into the air at meal time. He still flings himself at the sliding glass door when he wants to come in. Despite his fading vision, he can still snatch an accidentally-dropped pretzel off the floor at lightning speed. He's generally pretty healthy.
Giddy's main obstacle is that his left rear leg is no longer cooperating. His foot knuckles under and as he walks, he scrapes the top of his foot. When he walks across the kitchen tile, I can hear pad-pad-pad-scrape as he walks. I've often wished I had hardwood floors but now I am glad to have the carpeting so that my ol' guy can get some traction. My friend Kate gave me box of disposable Pawz rubber booties to try. They were left over from her Boxer who passed away. I took Gideon for a walk this afternoon. Surprisingly, he didn't try to take the boot off. I guess he figured he would be feisty about it based on his feelings towards wearing funny hats when he was younger.
We just went for a short walk. It was around 70 today and he overheats easily. The boot stayed on, so that was good news. I could hear the rubber scraping against the asphalt and I was glad it could shield his toes. Someone immediately spotted us and asked about it, of course.
After our walk, I came home and grabbed our foster dog, Prince, who is 16 months old and never gets tired. I feel like I could walk him to the moon and back and he still wouldn't get tired. Gideon, meanwhile, is not a huge fan of Prince's puppy antics. Prince is getting adopted soon, so I'm sure Giddy will be glad about that.
It's just tough watching my sweet guy get old. If you know anyone who has any pull over this sort of thing, ask them how we sign up for immortality for doggies.