dunkin's ten, which in lab years is pretty old. i think recently, maybe in the past year or so, we've started to notice him getting older. it breaks my heart because really, i know everyone says this, but he's the best dog. ever. it's no secret that henry's been my baby. and if i had to choose between the two i would have picked him. but dunkin's a better dog. he's loyal. he's kind. he's protective, in a way that doesn't make you nervous when people knock on the door. he's my constant companion. he follows me around the house throughout the day. he waits upstairs outside the door when i'm putting the kids to sleep and won't come down until i do. he's just a good, good dog.
he was charlie's before he was mine but i always thought of him as my dog long before charlie and i moved in together and he technically became my dog. charlie has always joked that dunkin is the reason that we got together because i hung out with him just to be with his dog. when we had kids i never gave a second thought to how dunkin would be with them. i was a little worried about henry because he can be really grumpy. and i actually think that he's been a bit depressed since we brought avery home. at first he was mad, and then when she started crawling and walking and messing with him he started spending his days as far away from her as possible. the only time he really acts happy is when we take him for a walk and let him chase the geese. but dunkin didn't have a problem when we brought avery home. he definitely gets annoyed with her and he'll look at charlie and i like "do i really have to put up with this?" but he does. always. and sometimes i think he secretly likes the attention.
avery goes back and forth about how she feels about him. sometimes she's all about him, giving him random hugs, telling him she loves him, playing silly games with him. and other times she gets really annoyed with him. he's definitely a "velcro dog" and she gets mad that he's always in her face, laying on her toys, or licking her fingers. she'll get mad and try and push him out of the way sometimes, which is just comical because he's 90 pounds and she's probably 20 or so. basically she doesn't stand a chance. and he just looks at her like "yeah, right".
anyway, as he's gotten older we've started to realize that he probably won't be around forever. his hips bother him and he has arthritis in one of his front legs that causes him to limp pretty badly. he can't play ball anymore and although he still loves walks, i've stopped taking him because of how badly he limps when we get back. i'm so glad that our kids have had a chance to grow up with him because he's the sweetest. charlie and i are definitely dog people. i can't imagine our home without a dog, despite the messes and the piles of fur. but i also think for us that we'll never have another dog like him. hopefully he's got a few more years of playing ball with avery, barking at people who walk by, and chasing toby around the house because i know we'll miss that dog like crazy when he's no longer around to trip us when we get up from the dinner table.