As I walked around in the woods behind my house snapping pictures of the frosted landscape, Cozy barked constantly. There was a small stream behind our house that looked especially picturesque, and as I started shooting, I reveled in the quiet which caused me to realize that the barking had stopped. I looked towards the house and saw Cozy lumbering through the snow after forcing herself through the gate nose-first so she could be with me. That was all she was barking about; she wanted to be with me. That’s all she ever wanted.
With the sun shining, the snow was melting off of the branches throughout the forest. The clumps of snow would crash through the branches and Cozy would twist her head to look in the direction of the latest fall. On larger falls she would let out a little wuf to let the snow know that she was watching. Every now and then she would lift her nose into the air and smell the breeze. I always wondered what she might be smelling when she’d lift her nose like that. Dogs have a sense of smell upwards of one millions times as sensitive as a humans which made me wonder if she was smelling someone baking a pie a mile away or someone opening a can of tuna fish in a house down the road.
My baby girl was no longer a baby. She wasn’t old and she didn’t have a white muzzle, but she was certainly not a puppy, either, and that made me sad.
I called to Cozy to come in, “Come on baby girl.”
When Cozy and I got inside the house, I went to the computer to offload my pictures while Cozy lay on the floor, exhausted from our expedition. As I looked at the pictures I was once again saddened. My Cozy looked terrible. She was too big, she needed to be brushed, and for the first time I was seeing her not as a puppy, but as she really was. My Cozy was slowing down. She was getting old. I sat on the floor with her and rubbed her ears. She groaned her perfect purring ear-noise that always made me so happy.
For the first time I wondered how much longer she would enjoy the simple pleasures of ear scritches from Daddy.