White Dog and the others are not always the most patient with Puff, our most senior girl at 17, who is slow and deliberate as she moves across the landscape of our house. They sometimes crowd or hip check our girl (91-ish in human years) at she dotters and stops forgetfully...causing her to lose balance and just slide to the floor in a belly flop.
I am not understanding about those acts of unkindness as I remind each of the others that with love and luck they, too, will grow old and less agile. "Gentle! Careful!" are commands that every member of the White Dog Army has heard over and over...and they have heard my frustrated cry when they knock My Little Old Lady to the ground and then callously walk over her.
For her part, Puff is the poster model for Patience. She never snarls or reacts badly at being so treated. And she does not cry out for help without first struggling to regain her feet under her and lift her body up again. There are times, like on the slick kitchen tile that Puff simply cannot get back up; her soft whimper is my signal to go and help her. Once back in action, my girl simply continues on her route with the calm zen of a Lhasa Apso.
Tonight she was knocked over four times going from the kitchen to the hallway and I was not happy with her siblings who were too intent on THEIR comings and goings and playing to avoid her. She was insistent on being up and walking around despite the risks.
At first I thought Benson was playing a "shadow me" game with Puff and I began watching to stop the game before it got out of hand. She is so fragile and her age a fall, like with human elders, could result in a broken bone. Plus she was not having one of her most athletic evenings. She wobbled and stopped and swayed before continuing her wobble-walk.
Benson it turns out WAS shadowing her but not in the game the WDA plays with each other when they want to antagonize. He was her linebacker putting up a barrier between the delicate oldster and her crazy post dinner siblings. He moved so that his was the body contact of zoomies and mad chases that sped through the house and out into the yard and back. Meantime, Puff calmly continued her evening stroll around the house without, I think, even noticing Benson's gift.
But there, too, I was wrong. Half an hour later, everyone had relaxed into digestive napping and I went to find Puff. She was on the floor at the bottom of the bed near the dog door and Benson was protectively curled around her...both asleep.
Ben looked up. "I kiss your nose," I told him as a thank you. He thumped his tail once before reresting his head on Puff's back.