He's lost a little more weight this week - the tumour. His eyesight becoming cloudier - the diabetes. Smell rather than vision his principal guide. Each evening we move the decorators scaffolding to the side of the hallway so that he can find his way, uninterrupted and unsurprised, to the front door.
The twice daily insulin injections are working well. The four in the morning pit stop a fixed part of his routine. The rest of his night spent in contented slumber.
Most afternoons we try to take him somewhere new for a walk. His pace may be slow but his zest for life is fuelled by fresh scents and textures. He acts as if there's a bottomless seam of mischief still to be mined. Dog and laughter ; interchangeable words.
Wilf used to be a fiercely independent fellow. A ' give me a tickle if you must but I'd prefer a bone ', type of dog. 100% boy. Now, on the dot of ten each night, he plants himself down squarely in front of me to signal that it's time for some lengthy, under the chin, reassurance. Gentle changes.
There is something special about these days. Where we see an SUV about to burst into flames, Wilf sees an opportunity to befriend firemen and get biscuits. Right until the very end communication with a dog is a two way street. The PON maxim : We should give meaning to life, not wait for life to give us meaning '. Not bittersweet. Just tender.