Today Bristol turns 14 years old. Because this is also December 14th, it makes it her golden birthday. So I guess we could say that it's the Golden's Golden Birthday. She celebrated it by going to the park and chewing on a cow foot, and taking a nap on my shoes. She got a tug rope for her gift and I am assuming we'll break it in shortly. The old lady does love tug of war.
I don't really have anything to say about her that I haven't said before about a million times. Our relationship is so hard to quantify, and explain to people; especially people who don't have an assistance dog. Even though she's retired, she is still the center of everything I do. From my first half-awake fumble for her Thyroid medication in the morning, even before my feet hit the floor, until I do her eye drops and give her one last snuggle before falling asleep at night. She is always in the back of my mind, and even more now, that she is older.
When I first met her, I didn't want anything to do with her. My first guide dog had just died at age 3 from lymphoma. I wasn't ready to open my heart so fully to anyone. She didn't give me a choice about it. She was like a giant rock; waring down my hurt feelings and anger, and planting the seeds of great love in their place. She continued to be a rock, all through our working relationship, no matter what I threw at her. She handled everything with calm joy, and that sure-fire confidence that she could do anything that was asked of her. When I moved to New Orleans in 2003, I knew nobody. I had never been to the city before, so we spent days traveling the streets, getting lost, and then unlost together. No matter what happened, where I went, or what I had, or how I felt, she was always there. And that's the way it's always been.
I must confess, that a part of me wonders if this will be her last birthday. She can't live forever, I know this, but the wish is there just the same. The only thing I can do is to make sure that today, and the rest of her todays are all golden.