White Dog seemingly read my mind. "The softer gentler needier Puff is wonderful because she is finally becoming so trusting but on the other hand it is worrisome because I tink it is that she increasingly feels the effects of her age and wants reassurance."
Puff is the matriarch of the White Dog Army. At 17, she carries the signs of aging by sleeping more, being more feeble when she walks, and facing the usual plethora of diminishing eyesight and hearing, a bit of dementia, and sometimes waiting a little too long before recognizing nature's call.
Additionally, she is an ex-backyard breeder girl. At the end, before the White Dog Army found her, she had been turned out to live in dirt in the Kansas weather during all seasons. She was the third original member of the Army and arrived dangerously heartworm positive which left her with lifelong pulmonary and heart issues as well as a collapsing trachea. She was nearly feral; trusted no one. To this day, she is reluctant to be held, is stubborn as can be and refuses help even when she clearly needs it. She is my inspiration in her spirit of shaking her paw at the Universe and yelping "I WILL NOT SURRENDER."
But slowly she is accepting aging, though not by choice.
She does not ask for hep but calls out in her non-bark to let us know she has gotten lost in the corner again...and instead of scrambling to get out of your arms when you right the situation she has begun taking a moment just to rest her head on your shoulder.
Over these past two weeks during Steve's vacation, we have been able to relax more and before sleeping have enjoyed the opportunity to watch movies or favorite shows. Normally this is a rare luxury. But each night now Puff has whimpered and struggled unsuccessfully to get comfortable in any of the dog beds.
We have begun lifting her to our bed (she would have, in the past, immediately demanded to be put back on the floor) where she settles between us and rests comfortably with her head on Steve's leg. At the end of the show, she happily then curls up in HER bed and sleeps. This is precious and heartwarming but also a little scary to see my firebrand seek out our warmth and security. In a way, like White Dog says, it seems like foreshadowing, especially in light of her increasing Sundowner's tendencies.
I thought of White Dog's words this morning when Puff had a small seizure. Dr. Julia says these events are not unusual in such an elderly girl and that are caused by a myriad of possibilities including low blood sugar or just a neuron misfiring. I held her wrapped in my arms and talked calmly until the quaking stopped. I expected her to refind her "normal" and jump down. Instead she leaned heavily into me, rested her head on my arm which still enfolded her, and trustingly closed her eyes.
I kissed her head (something else she used to be VERY intolerant of) and whispered, "I love you Baby Girl."