Rani and I have been together for quite awhile now. We just crossed over the thirteenth year of our bond, to be exact. To say we've been through a lot together is probably a mild understatement. This puppy is my rock, my therapy, and my loyal companion. Rani had flown on four flights before she was a year old. Before she turned two, she had already lived in five different homes. We went from a house with a huge backyard, to living in a series of apartments. Needless to say, our walks became regular and necessary...for both of us. She trained for three marathons with me, hiked to the top of Mt. Mansfield, went swimming in the ocean both the Pacific AND the Atlantic, took a trip on a train and went hiking through the Cinque Terre, and soon she will join us for an adventure in the Austrian Alps - the kid has got some serious mojo.
All of this reflection is showing me how incredibly unstable my life has been. One constant in my life has been her, and I know we have many adventures left to explore together. Rani has clearly missed the memo that she's thirteen. Old age has hardly slowed her down, but it is making her just a tad bit senile. I hate to accept her age because to me she will always be here. Don't worry, she's not sick or dying or anything horrible like that. Instead she has become nothing shy of a monster. Hahaha. Ok, now I'm clearly exaggerating, but she really is losing her mind. I'm convinced that she has decided she is in the last of her years so she's tired of listening to what people want her to do and she's ready to just be free.
In the last couple of months my well-behaved and sweet little mutt has gone crazy. She begs like I starve her (and believe me, I feed her like a queen), and growls at me throughout the day when she thinks I need to be giving her more attention. It works, I will surely admit that! She poops whenever and wherever she darn well pleases, including in her sleep (ok, she can't help that one). If we don't properly secure the trash, or close doors, she tears into them like she's having a party. Now that is one thing I would love to be a fly on the wall to watch, can you imagine what that must look like? Pure craziness...
We are relatively certain she can no longer hear well, and I think she believes that means we can't hear OR see her either. Walking her on a leash is a challenge and letting her off-leash these days is a ticket for disaster. We have a very busy street that runs before our house, and I always thought she would at least be shy of the cars. Never before have I had to worry that she would be dumb enough to run out in front of a car because she was terrified of them. She would force me to walk on sidewalks to get us out of the middle of the street. Not anymore. The other day little r and I took her on her favorite walk where we let her romp in a large open field where she can let loose. Rani decided she wasn't in the mood and little r was just taking a little too long for her taste. So, she bolted. Ran straight for home. She had done this before to a certain degree, but she would usually wait. It became a game. She refused to get within 50 feet of me. Lovely. I just kept bracing myself for something horrible to happen, and then, it almost did... An elderly woman was walking down the sidewalk and Rani couldn't contain herself, she had to say, "hello," to this lady. When the woman was clearly disinterested in humoring her, she decided to cross the street and go home. A BMW came screeching to a halt! Instead of cowering and running up to our apartment, she just stood there and looked at the driver. Seriously, just stood there. It was almost as if she was waiting for the guy to get out of the car and greet her. Totally bizarre. The driver had to GO AROUND her. No, I am not kidding.
At this point I am running, toddler in hand, as fast as I can through the snow. It was not a pretty picture. I was doing all I could to not cry. I kept saying to myself, "I can't believe she's doing this. You stupid dog, you are going to get yourself hurt." It's at moments like these that you realize you are in the company of a toddler. Little r started repeating me. In fact, he still, now almost two weeks later, will say, "Rani hurt car." The decision has been made; Rani has lost her off-leash privileges, at least for now.
It might be true that you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but you should be able to gently remind them that they know how to behave. At least, one can only hope. So that is what I'm going to do. I'm hoping that she is also craving a little structure in her life. Little r and I aren't the only ones in this house that could use a little regularity. It's funny, but I'm already seeing a vast improvement in her mood in just the past few days of taking little r to and from kindergarten at a set time each day.
Regardless, the mutt still manages to win my heart. She gets a full snugglefest every night and we have even started playing with her toys again. I'm a sucker and she knows how to aim right for my heart. I love you, Rani-dog, even if you are a crazy little mutt.