After quite a long time pretending the inevitable was never going to happen, reality's been kicking in hard for me the past few months. My dog, Ginger, is getting old. This past September, she turned fourteen, and the only difference between ages fourteen, ten and five were that when she was younger, she slept less. But she still had so much energy, so much speed and bounce and strength

But in the past two or three months, it seems like she's slowing down more and more each day. Sleeps longer, is harder to wake up. She's having little accidents on the floor every day. Mom has to wash her bed every day because she has accidents while she's sleeping. She's so, so slow, and mostly blind and incredibly hard of hearing. It's hard for her to jump up on anything or anyone. And I just--god.

Every single day, I pick her up and cuddle her and I can't help thinking--every time--this could be the last time I hold her. And I honestly have no idea how I could be okay in a world where she isn't there to hold. To bounce around and drive me nuts and beg for treats and hog my bed like it's her bed and just be so lovable it hurts.

I don't know how much longer we have with her. Maybe days. Maybe much longer. Please, longer. Months and months longer.

And now I'm really making myself bawl, because just those lines--I am hoping for months with her. I am measuring the time we have left with her in months. I can't even dare to hope for one more year. How can it be at the point where I think months is stretching it?

I've never lost a pet before. We are so lucky we've had her for so long, and yet, no matter how long, it's not going to be long enough. If we have to lose her, losing her like this, slowly, still having her bounce around and driving us bonkers every day--less and less time each day, but still every single day--then we're so much luckier than others. So much.

How does anyone imagine a world without the animals they love? How am I supposed to do it? Maybe I shouldn't try, because the only use that would be is in preparation for losing her, and I don't think there's anything in the universe that would prepare me for that.
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