Factor #10 -- long walks with Professor Jiggs before breakfast and after sunset
Any parent who has ever tried to take a photograph of an unwilling child can appreciate the result posted here. My good pal, Professor Jiggs, has never liked cameras. His portraits look as if they were made during one of those 1950s duck and cover exercises.
For 12 years, he has been a major part of my life. If you were to listen to him, I never do anything with him. But I have tried to modify my life to take him with me wherever I go. As a result, I have turned down many engagements over the years.
The beach is (or was) his favorite spot to visit. The sand. The surf. The birds. But, most of all, the smells. For several years, I would drive to the beach with him every Saturday morning and we would spend hours enjoying the simple pleasures of the ocean. I credit Jiggs with teaching me the value of simple things. Sticks. Salty breezes. A plover on her eggs.
When Paul and Nancy moved to Mazatlán with their dogs and talked about evening walks along the beach, I knew there was an additional reason to move to Mexico. Of course, the timing would need to be modified for the heat. No big deal. Jiggs and I already have a routine of taking walks early in the morning and late at night.
Then time started taking its toll on him. Those of you who read this blog regularly know that last December he suffered the start of a series of leg problems. It was bad enough in December that I thought I would have to put him down then. Trouper that he is, he has managed to work around his limited use of his back legs.
It cannot go on much longer. The cortisone shots are coming far too close together. He can climb stairs, but he cannot jump out of my truck. When I took him to the veterinarian on Friday, the doctor had to come out to the truck to conduct his examination.
One of these days I will post something on how my generation has managed to over-sentimentalize our relationships with pets. I am certainly one of the worst offenders, and I can even find the point in my life when it began.
At least twenty years ago, I read one of those human interest stories that usually populate the Living section of newspapers. I do not recall the topic of the column, but the writer made a passing reference to looking into the imploring eyes of her dog, with whom she had spent joyous stick-fetching years at the beach, and seeing that the time had come to put him down. I remember thinking: "I wish I could have a dog to experience a moment like that."
I hope I did not spend these last 12 years with Jiggs just to lead up to that one terrible moment that has yet to occur. But occur it will -- and soon. Probably, sooner than my move to Mexico.
Is this factor still important to me?
I really don't know.
Grade for Melaque:
Melaque is a great beach town for dogs. I posted pictures earlier of two Irish Setters and a German Shepherd who regularly played on the beach in front of the house where I intend to stay.
However, there are dangers for any dog in Melaque. Many of the street dogs are very territorial and will attack to show their dominance.
All of that assumes that I will have a dog with me. I doubt Professor Jiggs will make the trip -- even if he is still alive.
But I can certainly take those walks. And think of how much he would enjoy each step and smell.
And there is always the possibility of bringing another dog into my life. But it is far too early to think about that.
Right now, I need to stop typing and take my joy boy for the walks he still enjoys.
Next post: living outside of a car