Aria turns ten today. According to the Pedigree Dog Age Calculator, based on her breed and age in human years, she is 75 years old. Happy Birthday, ole girl.
She’s been in the house ever since her brother, Tasu, was hit by a car. Aria was confused by his disappearance. She didn’t witness the accident; she simply saw him wedge his way out of the kennel and never return. Her ears perked and she looked for him any time his name was spoken. We were careful not to do that after the first three days. It was like watching a newly widowed woman.
Although I’m not a fan of big dogs in the house, I couldn’t leave Aria outside alone. She was silently grieving Tasu. We had her groomed at the Posh Pooch in Springfield and brought her inside. At first, she tiptoed around cautiously. She became my new shadow. I spoke to her in reassuring tones, but the moment I left a room, she was right by my side. Her restlessness concerned me.
I soon realized we both needed something to take our mind of the loss of Tasu, so I enrolled Aria in obedience classes at PetSmart in Canton. She knew a few commands my son taught her while working toward the Pets merit badge for Boy Scouts. After a quick assessment by the instructor, Leslie Jeandrevin, Aria was able to skip Beginner class and go straight to Intermediate.
The experience did wonders for my lonely dog. At first she was clingy. Over time, the socialization helped Aria relax. She had never been around another dog except her brother. She even made a best friend in a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Isabelle.
I am proud to say she completed Intermediate and Advanced I & II with flying colors on the first try. Technically, she’s CGC certified. Lazy me never sent in the paperwork. I thought about doing therapy with her in nursing homes or conducting school visits. It’s a lot of work and money to maintain the standards of grooming required for these trips. Those two facts are also why we stopped with CGC instead of pursuing Pet Partners status.
Lately, Aria is napping more, sleeping more deeply. I can get out of a room and return before she notices I’m gone. Her actions and responses are slower than they used to be. I’ll be sure to keep an eye on her this winter since it’s supposed to be colder than last year. Weather can take a toll on an old dog despite the fact that she’s inside. I believe they truly do feel it in their bones.
I don’t know how much longer we’ll have Aria in our lives. What I do know is that I will continue to love her every moment of her life. Each year past ten is supposed to be a bonus for a large breed dog. If she doesn’t slip away peacefully in her sleep, I will not let her suffer. Enough of that talk for now; it’s her birthday!
The occasion calls for a car ride, a visit to PetSmart, a new chew toy of Aria’s choice, and a bag of Pupperoni, and then home to nap.