When Kali first
joined established our pack six years ago as a rescue from Tawain she was estimated to be five-years old. We didn’t have the pleasure of seeing her grow up from puppy-hood. We didn’t get to see her as that roly-poly ball of fur tripping over her own feet or bouncing off a ledge that was too tall to scale. There are no memories of her at that gawky teen-ager stage. We met Kali as an adult. A mature dog who already had a lifetime of stories to tell if she only could.
Kloe and Koda came to us as puppies; Kloe at nine weeks and Koda at 4 months. We have the memories (and plethora of pictures) of them going through various stages of puppy. Golden Retrievers are slow to mature and they maintain much of that playful puppy personality until around three years old. Many keep their puppish traits into old age. Kloe, now four and a half, has been a full fledged adult for well over a year. Koda at just over two is starting to outgrow some of her puppy-ness but she has a way to go… I do hope that they are true to their breed and always have some of those goofy playful traits that are so endearing.
A day, four months, a minute, six years. Just time, right? And what do dogs know about time?… I used to think that time is man-made and under our control. And I suppose the manner that we measure time is of our own doing. But really time is something we can’t control. Whether it’s measured with man-made tools like clocks and calendars. Or with nature like the cycles of the moons, colors of the seasons, or the rings of a giant sequoia tree (when measured with man-made tools) that can be over 2,500 years old. The passing of time is inevitable, the effects of that passing of time is undeniable and reflected in our bodies. And also in the bodies of our dogs.
We estimate Kali to be 11. But we really don’t know anything about her life before she was rescued in Taiwan and sent to us in the U.S. Maybe she is only eight and seems older due to a very hard life as a stray in Taiwan. Or perhaps she is 14 which would be well above average life-span for her breed.
Or maybe it doesn’t matter because what does Kali know about time anyway. She only knows “now”.
“Now” is getting harder for Kali. Time has caught up with her mind. Sometime she looks confused. Time has caught up with her senses. She has foggy eyes and is hard of hearing. Time has caught up with her legs that are no longer very steady and especially wobbly on smooth surfaces. She has always had a passionate appetite and is always ready for a meal or a snack. That’s a reassuring sign.
Kali mostly sleeps now, and is doing just that by my side as I write this post. It’s typical for a senior dog to snooze away the majority of the day. I feel that Kali has earned the right to do that. There are occasional flashes of energy. Like when she gallops (in-spite of her bad legs) across the driveway to my office in the morning. When I see that goofy looking trot it fills I laugh out loud. It fills my heart with joy when I see some of the puppy traits she once had. She is especially spry at meal time when she dances like Snoopy from Charles Schultz’s “Peanuts”.
So yeah, TIME.
“Lost time is never found again” – Benjamin Franklin
“Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend” – Theophrastus
“Time waits for no one” – Folklore
However time is measured – with clocks, the phases of the moon, or a lazy summer day – I hope to have much more of it with Kali by my side.
“All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given us”. – J.R.R. Tolkien
KALI: YESTERDAY AND TODAY
“Nala” before America