A statement made about me when I was in 6th grade, and a gift to me when I was in my 30’s continue to define me in many ways. My sixth grade report card said: “Debbie (I went by Debbie then) is little miss responsibility herself.” It was meant as a compliment, I’m sure, but I’m equally sure that isn’t something that should be said about a sixth grader. Still, it was true, and continues to be true to this day.

The gift was a stuffed Energizer Bunny, maybe two feet high, drum and all. Approaching sixty, I don’t feel like the Energizer Bunny anymore, but folks tell me they want my energy all the time.

I do my very best to forget both the sentence and the gift, though they clearly have stuck with me for decades. Butterscotch, however, sees me differently and that’s a blessing.

Butterscotch is really slowing down. She’s fine, but she’s nearing 14, and as I’ve written before, she is an old lady dog, and she can’t do all the things she did even a year ago. She has really been struggling the last couple weeks so we went to visit the vet yesterday. Her vet confirms what I suspected, which is an increase in arthritis, a decrease in range of motion for her back legs, and some pain. Enough that it is time for a daily dose of NSAIDS as an assist to the joint supplement she has taken for several years. It may be my imagination, but even after just 24 hours, she looks more comfortable, and that makes be happy.

(And as an aside, she has not lost her ability to look sweetly and longingly at people until they give her a treat. She has this one down. She snookered the vet multiple times plus the vet tech and the reception staff at the vet’s yesterday and made out like a bandit on the treats.)

Butterscotch’s slowing down, however, makes me slow down, and that’s probably a good thing. Walks are ambles…meanders…more about stopping and sniffing the poop and pee and whatever else is on the ground, than it is about racing from here to there, which is more my speed. She doesn’t need an Energizer Bunny at the other end of the leash. She needs someone who is willing to meander with her, and wait for her to sniff and take care of business. That’s a challenge for me, but probably a good one.

We’ve had some adventures the last couple days with a couple of our staff out sick and trying to shuffle schedules and make everything happen has been just slightly stressful, the kind of stuff that sorta keeps me up nights. Which makes me not want to walk Butterscotch, but it is the best part of her day…well, maybe second to meals…but she loves her walk time. So out we went, and we were out for about 20 minutes or so. We didn’t cover a lot of territory, but we did enjoy an absolutely glorious day, and Butterscotch got to check out the smells and see who else has been out recently. It seemed to satisfy her, and it slowed me down and got me thinking about things other than staffing adventures.

Butterscotch has brought many blessings with her since she joined us a few years ago. This is just her latest. Not being able to move fast for her eventually gets me to slow down too. And while I’d prefer not to sniff the things she does, taking the time to store the Energizer Bunny and little miss responsibility, and smell a a few flowers instead would probably do something good for my blood pressure, and probably my mood too.



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