An Old Shadow

A few days ago my aunt asked me to watch the house and her dog Jack. I happily agreed. Jack is a Newfoundland and Labrador mix. He was a goofy nut of a dog is his youth but now old age has placed a weight upon him. His legs are in pain, and he seems to be going deaf. He even has the "old dog bark." The kind of bark that doesn't echo. The sound stops short in the throat and rasps into a whisper. 

When I got to the house Jack was relaxing on the porch. He was soaking wet. The goof ball was probably standing in the rain and "barking" as passersby. After finding an old towel to dry him off with, Jack was in heaven. I gave him the five star treatment. You could tell he was on cloud nine because of his leg doing the "yeah, that's the spot" dance. 

After Jack was dry it was my turn to clean up. Ascending to the second floor to get a shower I quickly realized that Jack was trying to follow me.

"It is okay buddy. I'll be back down."

He didn't want any part of that. He followed me upstairs one painful step at a time. He even stood in the bathroom waiting for me to get done. Not sitting. Not laying down. Standing there. 

"Come on Jack. I'll carry you downstairs."

Yeah right. He was acting like a girl when you go to wipe a booger on her. Dropping the shoulder and dipping away in disapproval. 

"Jack seriously man. I'll help ya."

No way. 

"Fine. Have it your way Jack. I'll meet you downstairs."

Finally Jack made his slow, laborious trek downstairs and came over to me on the couch. He still wouldn't lay down. I was starting to feel terrible. How could I convey to Jack that I have no problems pampering him? That he doesn't need to lift a paw?

If I walked to the kitchen to get a drink. He followed. He always arrived in the kitchen just as I was walking back to the living room. Jack would turn around like clockwork and come right back.

I had a new shadow. A old shadow. A jet black shadow panting from exhaustion. 

I finally realized how I had to help him. I had to sit still. No bathroom breaks. No food. Just staying still and scratching Jack softly behind the ears.

I wish I could explain to Jack how it would be better if he just stayed put sometimes, and exactly how bad his breath smells. If I could, I don't think he would care about either.