Well, folks, Storm is still going strong at 13 and it is truly a wonder and a gift to me.
When she was diagnosed with spondylosis at age six, and started showing visible signs of slowing down at around eight, I thought, this beautiful soul is not likely going to live to be a very old German shepherd.
Yet, here she remains - doing remarkably well for such an old GSD.
Storm is slow, to be sure. Our walks are now more 'meanders'. EVERYTHING, and I mean, EVERYTHING, must be sniffed. Grass must be tasted. Puddles rolled in. Smells checked out, and every possible edible object put into her mouth. And, frankly, I let her. Why the hell not.
Her eyes, though now with the slight telltale clouding of old age, are bright and alert.
We won't dwell on the fact that she walked right past a cat the other day. Once her prey of choice. I kind of laughed at her. She looked at me quizzically.
Storm loves her food still, lives for each meal.
She does physio once every three weeks and I am utterly convinced that has given us the time we've had. The difference has been astounding.
She no longer howls at sirens; they alarm her now.
Thunderstorms, once ignored, now cause full body tremors.
So I comfort her.
And tell her she is safe.
And I am there.
I will always be there for her. I will do whatever is necessary to make sure whatever time we have together is the best possible - for her.
And, as of now, it looks like we are on deck for another Christmas together - something I really did not expect I would be so lucky to have last Christmas, as I took in every single moment of that one with her.
I am a lucky, lucky, LUCKY human.