Regular visitors may have noticed that Atticus stories and pictures have … well, they have disappeared. Atticus, that plucky little Cavalier, graced my life for three months. Whenever I think of the pandemic in the future I will recall it was time spent with Atticus and I watched him mature from a four-month-old puppy to a seven-month-old, nearly dog.
Do not despair. Atticus is fine. He has returned to his breeder, the lovely Rosalind and her fiancé Jeff. As it turns out, she never really wanted to part with him in the first place so my decision to relinquish him is a boon for her and him.
I will not sugar-coat the situation—having a puppy at the age of 72 is a real chore. I do not recommend it to anyone of my demographic. I knew this going in but the circumstances were such that it seemed something that was meant to be.
It wasn’t. The new Tampa house was still undergoing rehab, the porch was not enclosed, the yard not fenced. But I plunged in. Almost immediately I signed him up for group training sessions. We attended one class and I was filled with optimism. I liked the size of the class and the instructor. Then the pandemic lockdown arrived. Classes, like everything else, were cancelled. And so Atticus and I were left to our own devices. He is a smart puppy and I am a dumb human. I know about as much about dog training as Atticus knows about book learning. The last dog I had — Tango — was turn-key. He was six years-old and fully (and magnificently) trained.
But the big problem, aside from my age (or perhaps because of it), is my physical condition. I have arthritis everywhere. I have not had a PET scan to confirm this but I swear it would show arthritis in every joint in my body. Two joints — left knee and right hip — have already been replaced. My right knee has been partially replaced. And now it is attacking my left foot. For more than a year I have endured some serious pain upon walking, or sitting, or moving, or not—there has been no rhyme or reason as to the pain. And finding a doctor who will take this situation seriously has been a disappointing procedure. But, at last, I have found a podiatrist who is ready to treat me as an adult, not just a senior citizen. He sat down with me and reviewed an MRI of my foot, showing that my metatarsals are bone-on-bone. Cortisone shots will help…for a while. But there is probably surgery in my future (again), fusing the bones together. Rehab will entail no weight-bearing for ten weeks! Yes, ten weeks. That really helped put things into perspective.
My aging cat is not unhappy with Atticus’ departure. She has emerged from the forced exile to her “den” in the back of the closet. Atticus quickly learned that spot was her’s but he constantly tested the envelope. “Come on!” he would seem to say, “life is to play!” Yes, well both she and I have played and have the physical aches, pains and limps to prove it. Just wait, young Atticus, Father Time will find you too.
He is a wonderful dog who deserves the life I know Rosalind and Jeff will give him. Godspeed little Atticus…now named Atlas. Thanks for being such a ray of happiness and light at such a sad time in our history. ❖