Wednesday, September 6, 2017

I Needed To Have That Talk With My Fur-Nephew. So, I Did.

We have a lot of fur-nieces and fur-nephews that we take care of when their Moms and Dads go away for the day, weekend, or on vacation. We love them as if they were our own kids. When they're in our care, they are spoiled by their Aunties. There's no shortage of playtime, snuggle time, outdoor time, bedtime stories, lovin', and treats. Just recently, we took care of our 2 fur-nieces and fur-nephew. This time, amid all the lovin' and playing and being spoiled, there was sadness. I tried to avoid it, but I couldn't. I needed to have that talk with my fur-nephew, Dusty.

Dusty is a sweet old man. He's 16. He's had a great life. His Mom and Dad go above and beyond with his care, medical needs, and everything between. In the past few years, he's had a surgery or two to correct knee and hip issues. They've done everything to ensure that he has a long and healthy life.

And, he has.

But now, he's 16. Age has taken over. He's partially deaf and blind. He walks slower and often times needs assistance when going up and down the 3 back porch steps leading to the backyard. His appetite is decreasing. His mobility isn't nearly what it used to be. His face is almost all white.

I'm not going to lie. When our neighbor friends left for a few days just recently, I dreaded walking over to their house to take care of their babies. I knew my heart strings would be pulled in every direction. I knew I would cry. I am now.

The care of our neighbor friend's babies trumps my emotional state. Always. I reluctantly walked over. Unlocked the door. Entered. There was Dusty. On his doggy bed. He didn't get up to greet me, but I could see his tail wagging.

"Hi, Dusty! It's Auntie!"

I announced myself loud enough so he could hear me. His tail wagged harder. His face lightened up. He knew it was time for afternoon snacks and snuggles. Our fur-nieces went outside. Dusty wasn't interested.

I took that moment to have a chat with Dusty. I got on the floor. Used part of his doggy bed for a place to rest my arms and head. I could tell Dusty was loving the attention without his sisters around.

I let Dusty know a few things...

It was an honor to know him and to be his Auntie.

In the 5 years we've known him, he has brought so much love and joy into our lives.

We love him as if he was one of our own kids.

Despite his old age, weakening body, and partial loss of sight and sound, he's still the handsome boy we've always loved and adored.

If at any point, while his parents were away, that he felt it was his time to move on, that was okay.

Aunties would sense this. Know this. And, we wouldn't leave his side. He wouldn't move on alone.

It was one of the hardest conversations to have, but it was important to me that Dusty knew.

I know he understood. Throughout the conversation, Dusty rubbed his face against mine and rested his sweet face on my arms.

He sensed my tears. The love.

By this time, his 2 sisters made their way back inside.

I gave Dusty a kiss on his head.

We had an understanding.

His tail started wagging again. It was time for round 2 of afternoon snacks.

Dusty loves our biscuits.

I walked home with a tear stained face and swollen eyes.

But, I felt better. Lighter.

I'm fairly certain Dusty's time with us is numbered. His old age is getting the best of him.

We'll make the most of what time we do have with him.

And, when that time comes when Dusty moves on, we'll have 5 years of sweet memories with our fur-nephew.

Until then, he'll continue to be spoiled by his Aunties.

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