Cozy Tales: 46. Slow Cozy

Early in 2005, we had a snowstorm that made everything look like it was covered with vanilla frosting. I grabbed my camera and took a walk in the woods behind my house in order to take pretty pictures. Cozy followed me into the yard, but I shut the gate and left her in the yard since the de-facto rule had always been dogs stay in the yard.

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.

Cozy made her way to me and after snorting her displeasure at being left behind, she proceeded to plop herself down by the stream to rest. She was big and getting along in years, and the walk through the deep snow had tired her out. I decided to capitalize on the situation and spent the next half hour taking pictures of my Cozy in the snow.

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.

After enjoying the mystery aroma from the breeze, Cozy got up and went to stand in the stream and lap up some of the cold water. As I watched her climb down into the stream I was struck for the first time how my Cozy seemed to be a lot slower than she used to be. The bounding crazy puppy that bounced off of the walls after her first bath was gone. Here was a Cozy that seemed old, overweight and in some pain. She walked slowly and gingerly, like an old lady with arthritis that grabs every piece of furniture as she walks through her house.

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.”

Cozy looked up at me, then noticeably without vigor, proceeded to climb up the bank of the stream. If there had been a chair for her to grab, I bet she would have welcomed the support.

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.

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