Our girl turns 12 years old today, and she has a birthday treat in store: Howard will back from Cornwall again tonight, and she'll be over the moon! (He's doing puppetry at the Eden Project, so he's been away a lot this summer.)
For those who have been kindly asking about Tilly's health: she's making steady progress. I admit there were nights earlier this month when Howard and I both feared the worst -- but thanks to our local vet practice, to the right medications at the right time, and to her own irrepressible spirit, she's back on her (slight wobbly) feet again, and we couldn't be more grateful.
She still can't manage our usual morning rambles: she limps and tires easily, and has to be helped up hills and over walls. Short and simple walks are best, with plenty of stops to sit and rest. As someone who has had to convalesce frequently myself over the years, there's something very poignant about helping our old hound do the same.
We've been visiting some of her favourite spots within close distance of the house: the woods, the hill, the leat, the field, the meadow bench and others. Her joy upon reaching and re-claiming each one is a thing to see.
It's hard to believe 12 years have passed since the day she chose to come home with us. Our lives have been changed, enlarged, and even healed by her gentle presence.
Someday our long morning rambles may resume...but until then, it's enough that she's still here. She's older, slower, and whiskery now. Wiser. Stubborner. Sillier too. Happy Birthday, sweet companion. Little black shadow. Our family's heart.