There have been more and more signs that my dog is getting old. He's having a lot of trouble with stairs, especially in the morning, or at the end of the day. I'm pretty good. At the sound of his toenails on the stairs, I am up and headed down them. I usually manage to catch him still at the bottom of them, and he can turn around and come back down. It's important, because sometimes, he struggles to the top of the stairs, and then cannot get back down. Sometimes he falls. He's getting old, and I know this.
This morning, I heard him, and leapt from the bed, grabbing for my robe. I hit the hall whispering to him to stop, to go back down. Buck stood there with an odd look in his eyes, unmoving. "Oh," I thought. "He's afraid to move for fear his rear will give out on him and he will fall." This has happened before, and it is bad news, because then he has to be carried, and he is not a small dog. To make matters worse, being carried on stairs frightens him, and he is afraid of being dropped so he struggles. But as I got close, I heard a peculiar sound. My Buck had lost control of his bladder and stood there mortified peeing on the stairs, staring at me, afraid that he was now 'a bad dog'. Calling him 'bad dog' is the worst thing you can do to this good dog, and he takes the criticism to heart. The shame in his eyes cut me to the quick.
Finally, the peeing stopped, and he slunk back down the stairs, and stood quietly at the door. I let him out and he went, not looking at me. He has been a very good dog all these many years, and he doesn't understand that I will not insult him now, when he is old and can't help it.
It will be delayed as long as possible, but what happens next will break my heart.