Monday, January 19, 2015

Life with Blackie

In August 2004, I just bought a new house and got a new puppy, a three month old Border Collie named Blackie.

I kept him in a crate while I was at work and to house train him that took him only two weeks to figure out. He loved to play tug of war with a piece of rope while he showed me his moves by twisting and jumping over my arms. He also liked to play fetch with the same rope as I'd throw it down the hall and he'd run back with it jumping up and hitting me on the legs with his paws until I was black and blue from the experience. He'd play for hours like this and when he was nine months old I took him running with me for the first time. He loved it and he would strut down the running path. Obedience training was a snap for him. By this time he was out of his crate and allowed to run around the house while I was at work. He'd sit by the front window and wait for me to come home. All the neighbor's knew him and always asked me about him. They didn't know he'd chewed up two window sills and some carpet while he waited for me to come home for lunch and after work. I thought he was lonely so I got him a playmate, a little Border Collie female from the same breeder, and I named her Koko.

Koko and Blackie never really bonded like I thought they would and all she wanted to do, and it's still the same to this day, is to chase Blackie with a toy in her mouth. I'd take them to the local park and let them run around and smell everything and we made the best of it.

Then I met Patra and everything changed. Patra had three cats and a bird. The Border Collies didn't mind the cats and the bird but they weren't happy that they were losing their precious spots on the bed at night. Blackie hung onto his spot on the right side of the bed, Patra got stuck in the middle, and I got the left side with a kitty cat who slept on my head. We got married and moved to a bigger house in Dallas with a huge backyard and everyone was content. However, we lost two kitties the first year and then got another one who's never left the house. The dogs made do with the new house by playing in the back yard while Blackie would run with me at White Rock Lake and White Rock Creek.

Life was moving along for the animals and then we adopted another dog, Zoe a Blue Heeler mix, and the house became full of tension.We kept Zoe until we were getting ready to sell our house and Patra's brother took her in. Tension among the animals resolved itself.

Then in 2010 our twin boys were born and the animals had more humans to deal with in the house. Things went well until the boys were walking and Blackie snapped at them a couple of times. By this point he was getting, "grumpy" as the boys called him. He'd slowed down to the point where he didn't really like playing in the backyard anymore and would only run with me in cooler weather. Koko spent her time hanging around in the backyard barking at the neighbor's dogs.

Now it's 2015 and Blackie has really dramatically slowed down. He can no longer run with me for any distance at all and only walks with me to the park on short walks and even that seems to be stressful for him. Getting up and jumping into the car is now a real problem for him. My heart is breaking with thoughts of losing him but Patra has told me not to mourn him that he's got a lot of life left in him. We go to the vet in a couple of days to find out if there's anything other than old age dragging him down so quickly. I'm just sad that he's not the puppy he used to be and it's hard to watch an animal age so rapidly.

I love that little monster.

Update: Blackie's running days are officially over. Arthritis in both hips and his right rear knee. Doc has him on pain medication and supplements to manage the arthritis. Now we wait and see how he does on the medication.