A number of sources say that Labrador Retrievers live about 10-12 years. I adopted Anna on my birthday in 2004 when she was 8 months old. You do the math. No wonder she is starting to have trouble! If I remember right, Tuesday night our vet said 13-16 years which is a bit better. Either way, time is getting short.
Anna has been having trouble with her back legs. She is a lot slower than she used to be. Sometimes, but not often, she falls. She has had times when she could not get up for several minutes. Where she used to love riding in the car, now she just looks at it and then sadly goes back to the house because she cannot climb in. (Andrew gave her a boost Tuesday to go to the vet and back). We started her on pain pills. I deceive myself or she was moving more easily and comfortably next morning. The old girl may have a few more good years.
As a friend said, their short lives is one of the hardest things about having pets. Although I must say, that I think the predicament of parrots is sadder. Parrot people tend to want to get a young one but they cannot usually afford a parrot until they themselves are middle aged or older. Parrots live 50 years or more, some even 100. And they bond to their people. Then they are orphaned while they still have half their lives ahead of them and no one wants them because parrot people want young parrots. We inherited a friend’s mother’s parrot once. He was never happy with us. Turns out I am not a particularly good parrot parent. He didn’t like me at all. He liked my sons somewhat. Because of our other pets and because he was not responsive to me, he had to stay in his cage most of the time. A dull existence for an intelligent creature. We were fortunate to find an educational sanctuary with large cages and other parrots with whom he made friends. School children loved to visit him and he would regale them with imitation car alarms. But a few years later, the facility closed for lack of funding. I don’t know what became of him or the others. If people truly love parrots, they would adopt these older orphans and not get young ones. But I digress.
Most pets live much shorter lives than humans do. Sad, but I think it serves good purpose. We learn to love and to deal with grief. It can help us when we have to deal with human loss. Loss of loved ones whether human, furred, feathered, finned, or scaled can help us realize the importance of relationships. Cherish them and treat them with love while you have them. Don’t put off the good times too much, because the time will run out sooner than you realize. Most of all, missing loved ones can help us think about how important it is to live so that we don’t have to miss them always but can be re-united and be with loved ones forever. God has promised that families can be together forever (and I believe also friends of all types). But there are conditions that must be met. If we do not live righteously and with love, if we do not accept Christ and sacred ordinances, we have no promise. I love my family dearly. I want to be family forever. The Lord has told me how I can. Losing loved ones in this life reminds me how important it is.
In the meantime I still have my dog. And my children and my grandchildren. And some pretty nice friends. I need to learn to cherish and enjoy them more. And to live so that when I am gone, they will miss me at least a little and want to meet again.