Diva's a 12 year old mutt we've had since she was eight weeks old. She is by far the best dog we've ever had--and we've had plenty--welcoming a flock of strays into her domain over the years and mothering them all.
It's hard to watch her get old. Can't see like she used to, her occasional lameness, the life slowly ebbing from those old eyes.
But she's not done yet. Yesterday and today, she's found a new way to escape from our 1/2 acre fenced back yard. However she's doing it, her younger, boisterous male companion and designated pain in the butt, Bando, hasn't been able to keep up.
He barks from the backyard, letting us know that old Diva's run off without him again.
It takes a while for her to come home. I think about how in her younger days, in my younger days, I would have run off looking for her, worried about what could happen to her out on the streets.
But with age comes a certain amount of freedom. Every ten minutes or so, I step out onto the front porch and call her name. She doesn't come when I call her. Too deaf to hear, or too old to care, she comes back when she's ready.
And I see life in her eyes these last two days that I haven't seen in a long, long time. She bounds up the front steps, tail wagging, leaping at my sleeve as if to sy, "Hey, I had an great run; you should see it out there!"
I say, come on in old girl, give her a pat on the head, notice that her eyes look five years younger.