Friday, April 4, 2014

A Decade with Dasa

My sweet little girl has some white around her muzzle, but otherwise her fur is a lovely auburn, just like the day she came to us, April 3, 2004. She was dainty, delightful and terrified.
Dasa's 1st day with us

And here we are, a decade later. Ten years. She sleeps curled against me with my arm around her or with her head on my pillow, snuggled against my side, no longer terrified.

Her boundless energy has been curtailed by age and illness. Her walks are now of the shortish variety. If the weather is nice we walk past a house or two and then she stops and looks at me. We either turn around or I carry her for the rest of our outing. Last summer she was ready to go, walking the entire trip with her tail jauntily waving. If the weather was nasty or even a bit cold, I carried her for blocks, but in nice weather she was happy to trot along. Walks attempted on the three temperate days we’ve had since January have shown us we’ve been unable to evade time and frailty. The walk came when my dainty girl’s back foot turned under, when going farther became too much for her and she was in danger of scuffing the top of that little white foot, I scooped her up and told her I would take care of it. I carried her safely home.

She carefully climbs the carpeted pet steps by the bed and the couch, only rarely attempting to leap from the floor. If she doesn’t quite make it, I dive to rescue her before she falls.
She often has to go potty during the night, so I carry her down the stairs and out to the back yard, praise her lavishly when she pees, dispense a treat or two, give her an opportunity to stop for a drink and then we return to bed. I tuck her under the blankets and we fall back to sleep.
She is still so full of sweetness, just as she has always been. Food is the most wonderful thing ever, and she leaps and twirls at mealtimes, issuing sharp piteous yips to let me know she’s starving, as if I could forget while she jumps about right beside me.
Sometimes my heart is so full of love for her I feel as though I can’t contain it. It spreads throughout my body, making every bit of me happy, delighted, light with wonder and gratitude.
Ten years of Dasa waking up, yawning so her little pink tongue curls, stretching, and kissing me on the nose when I hug her and tell her good morning. Oh the funny noises she makes, the excited greetings, the baby seal sounds when telling us about her day. She communicates artfully, scratching at the doorway when I’m in my office, then scratching at the wall a few feet from my office when my presence is required where the food is. In the kitchen she began by scratching at my empty shoes by the back door, then the cabinet, and finally with increasing impatience scratching the shoes on my feet. She now jumps up and down and keeps up a running litany of protests about our inhumane torturous lack of speed in providing nourishment. My shy little girl becomes very assertive when food is involved.

When she came to us, her devoted foster mom drove hours to bring her to us. Understanding that if Ivan did not like her, if they did not get along, she could not stay. Now I think of that and can’t imagine not having her, can’t imagine what would have happened if Ivan had been in a snit.  He had already learned to share us with Leo, our golden oldie who became part of our family only a few months after we adopted Ivan. Ivan had claimed my lap as his to make sure Leo knew I was HIS mommy, but he was also gentle with our little oldie and grieved with the rest of us when we lost Leo. We had decided Ivan was more than enough to keep us busy, but after we adopted Dasa, we realized in retrospect that a lonely Ivan had been acting up a bit since we lost Leo.
Ivan wants to play

Dasa had a tumultuous pre-rescue life. We had been told to be prepared for her to be too shy to go on  walks and too shy to interact with us. However, from the beginning she was interested in Ivan. When they met, Ivan was nearly doing handstands and holding up signs that said, “Play with me!” The two of them are such good friends and get along so well. Sure there’s grumbling when one Munchkin sits closer to a parent than the other deems necessary, but the bond between them is so smooth and well established.

And so we’ve sailed through 10 happy years with our Dasa, one of our Merry Munchkin Duo. A decade has been no time at all, and we are so lucky to have her with us each day.

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