Now I'm not generally given to solemn introspection, I'm a free-wheeling dog of the moment, what can I tell you, but there's been a few events over recent weeks that have given me paws for thought. 'Her Indoors' has just lost her Aunt (she's always losing stuff, it must be her age), and several of my Twitter pals have gone 'over the rainbow bridge' which is a delicate euphemism for when a dog stops zooming and goes for prolonged sun-puddling in the sky.
I'm not really a religious kind of dog. After all, dogs don't feature heavily in most of the major religions and some positively exclude us as being unclean (I suspect 'Him Indoors' might have some sympathy with that viewpoint) or as not capable of having souls (just like we're not capable of remembering things, anticipating things, or understanding more than a few words...) Still, I just hope that barking at Jehovah's Witnesses coming to the door isn't a cardinal sin and that God isn't a secret bunny sympathiser, otherwise I'll be straight into the hot place when my turn comes, I can tell you.
End of life is difficult to come to terms with, but if we've had a good innings, been loved and cared for, have given joy enriching the lives of others, and then passed away surrounded by our family, there is much to celebrate amongst the sadness. Making a final decision is hard, but at least, for us dogs, there can be a judgment call that enough is enough, and it's time for a gentle exit from this world. I can't help but wonder if this is an option perhaps people would benefit from too, but what do I know, I'm just a dog.
The average life expectancy of a Border Terrier is 12-15 years, and as I'm thirteen, I'm in the danger zone. This has it's advantages. When a Twitter pal goes OTRB, 'Her Indoors' gets all sentimental and makes a big fuss of me, but 'Him Indoors' always spoils it by pointing out how hale and hearty I am and how I've probably got a good few years left in me yet. I think I owe it to 'Him Indoors' to live as long as possible. I wonder what the world record is for Border Terriers?
One of the things I've learnt along the way is that old dogs, disabled dogs and even dogs with life limiting conditions, have a lot of living left to do, and I for one, intend to enjoy every moment to the full. After all, I've heard 'Her Indoors' say "it's not over until the fat lady sings" and although I know a few ladies with an insulating layer, I wouldn't dream of calling them fat, and I couldn't hear them singing these days anyway.
So I sit quietly with my ears down, paying my respects to lost friends, sending the gentlest of nose bumps and dog's breath licking to their families. And for those of us on the outside, looking in, I guess it does us all some good to remember that life is a finite and precious thing, and that we should treasure the moment now, today, whilst the sun is shining and there are still bunnies to chase.