By the time Nathan was old enough to ride on my back, another new little human had joined our family. His name being Daniel and I loved him as much as I loved Nathan. I was so happy for the humans that they had been blessed in this way.
The vet was growing old as I was growing old. We were very fond of each other. He had known me since I was a tiny pup and I trusted him completely.
When Boss took me there as it was obvious that something was wrong with my back legs, he took lots of pictures of me, I suppose the sort of pictures that Jesse had when he smashed his hip in that terrible fall. It did not hurt. Then Boss had a very long conversation with the vet as they studied the pictures together. Boss looked very worried but the vet seemed re-assuring.
He took a bottle and stuck a needle like thing into it and then put the needle into me. I never liked this but I also never complained and never made a sound. Then Boss was given some little round things in a bottle and from then on I had to take two of those with my meal every day. I do know that the vet told Boss that there was nothing they could have done about my condition, part of it was hereditary and part of it was because I was an exceptionally large dog for my breed.
I know Boss was upset because he mentioned to the vet several times that I was only ten years old, quite young for a dog to have the conditions that I did. I just listened to what they said although I could make no sense of most of it.
Well, soon I was back to being my old self. My legs did not feel so stiff and my back did not hurt so much. It is wonderful what humans can do for us animals.
I enjoyed every minute of the summer. Boss had found the new lake and would take us every day as the vet had said swimming was good for me. Well, I loved swimming now and could not wait to go every day. Boss would throw things into the water and Jesse and I would swim out for them. I was always the first in and always the last out. I wanted it to last forever.
Mrs. Boss would spend ages playing water games with us in the garden, spraying the hose over us when it was very hot and we would jump and try to catch the water and Boss and Mrs. Boss would laugh. It was a golden summer, truly golden in every way.
However, I was developing problems with my stomach. I seemed so hungry all of the time. Once, to the amazement of Boss and Mrs. Boss I stole some sausages that were on the surface in the kitchen. I had never ever been a naughty dog, never taken anything I was not supposed to but I was just so hungry. Luckily my humans soon noticed and it was back to the vets once more.
I was very sad when I got to the vet. My old friend was gone. He had "retired" whatever that meant. So I had to get used to a new vet but he was very kind although he did not know me. He was gentle and spent a lot of time with me and explaining things to Boss. Apparently the little round things I had to take were not agreeing with me and were affecting my "liver" whatever that meant, so I had to stop those immediately and I was put on an entirely new course of treatment.
That helped a good deal and I was no longer so hungry all the time.
The weather was changing and the days were growing shorter, soon the cold weather would be here. Swimming came to an end. Boss would not take us when the water was very cold. I missed it very much but hoped that next summer we would do the same again.
I knew that with the arrival of the cold weather, it meant that the time of tinsel and glitter was approaching again. I got as excited as usual. I knew it meant our own chicken to eat and our presents and that we would go out on that special day with tinsel around our necks as we usually did. People would always smile and pat us when they saw us wearing this shiny stuff.
The day dawned. As usual Boss and Mrs. Boss gave each other presents and a hug. Then it was our turn. I so looked forward on these occasions to getting my two new squeaky toys. Jesse and I had always gone mad with them, running up and down the hall, squeaking them for all they were worth. This day was different. I still got excited when the humans helped me open my presents, but this time I did not want to play. I felt very old. I had a few little goes with them to please Boss and Mrs. Boss but I got not get up the enthusiasm I had always had in the past.
I could not tell them but I was hurting really badly again and finding it difficult to get up once I laid down. On a couple of occasions Boss had to help me so I think he suspected although he said nothing to Mrs. Boss.
Mrs. Boss became sad. She had taken some pictures of us dogs as she always did at this time of year as she liked to see us wearing the shiny tinsel, but when she looked at them she told Boss I looked "old" for the first time and that my eyes had lost their lustre.
I knew that they were both worried about me so I tried my very hardest not to let them know how bad I was feeling. I wanted them to be happy at this happiest of all times of the year