It's odd that I'm commiserating with Sirius about our ageing pets; it's usually all business with her. Her cat is a lot more advanced in age than mine, but I have been in to look after Mimi while the Wongs were in BKK, so I am quite familiar with the ageing pet issue.
Mimi was lively, vivacious, noisy and chased the big dogs around if she saw one unattended. But over the years, her sight and hearing have been failing and lately she's hobbling stiffly, like it's a pain to move around. She'd find herself in a corner and just stand there, like she can't figure a way out. She sleeps a lot and doesn't even notice my presence until I stroke her or pick her up. I wouldn't be surprised if she can't tell dream from reality any more, at least not until we make tangible contact, keeping her literally "in touch" with the world.
There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with her sense of taste and smell, though. She's onto her food as soon as I bring her near enough. It's clear she is still hanging on to life for as long as she is able, regardless of her present condition.
That's a lot of courage for a little dog. We human beings tell ourselves we don't want to get old. We want to avoid the pain and difficulties that ageing brings. But the little dog knows that life happens only once, and there's no sense in giving it up just because it's become inconvenient. I learned a life lesson from Mimi in just one week caring for her most basic needs. She may now be old and frail, but she's not going anywhere just yet.
When she does go, as they inevitably do, I hope the decision was hers and not ours in haste; and that we will continue to nurture and care for her as long as she needs us, right up until the end.