Give a dog a bone


Charlie is bummed. The pool is closed for the season.

Charlie struts through the yard, drops his bone at the pool and contemplates his reflection. Orange and yellow leaves float in the water, signaling an end to a season.

I’m watching this from the kitchen, and I’m surprised when Lexie bursts through the dog door, and in a half-gallop tackles Charlie. In an instant, they are a blur of fur, paws kicking up dirt and fallen twigs. I grab my phone, and run outside. I can’t believe Lexie, at 14-plus years old and hobbled by kidney disease, is leading this race. She zooms by my legs, almost taking me out. I turn on the camera, and capture the rare burst of energy.

It’s autumn, and the crisp air and shorter days show no effect on Lex in this moment. She’s dancing like a doe in pursuit, and Charlie is working hard to keep up.

Matt remains in the kitchen, brewing his own special surprise: soup. Better yet, it means soup bones for a couple of unsuspecting pups. Tonight it is a beef barley, accented with morel mushrooms from our personal stash.

Lex chews her first bone.

After finishing our bowls, we ceremoniously lay a bone in front of each dog. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how Lex would respond. I had never given her a real bone before. She’s timid at first, gently sniffing it, then she lays down with it between her paws and starts chewing. She remained in that position for a good half hour.

I should mention Lex has been eating again. She eats in a frenzy, clumsily grabbing mouthfuls of her wet dog food, small bits sticking to the tip of her nose. After cleaning out her bowl, Lexie nudges Charlie from his puppy food and she finishes his kibble. Despite this, she remains for the most part fairly frail, and significantly underweight. Still, I know these feedings have given her amazing bursts of energy.

By the end of the night, Lexie snuggles her sleepy head into my lap. She opens one eye, then content I am still there she slowly drifts off. Her paws twitch and tremble, and I know she is chasing a rabbit into a hole. I run my fingers over her small frame, so thin that I can feel her spine jut through her fur. Lex jerks, and growls through her closed mouth. She’s got that rabbit cornered.

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