FluterDog will turn ten in two months.

For a medium-ish large dog, the life expectancy is 10-13 years. The actual AKC website used to say something like, “Airedales can be expected to live 10-13 years unless their love of adventure gets them first.”

I haven’t spent a lot of time around either old people or old animals, but I can tell she’s starting to wear out. The addition of a new puppy last year revitalized her for a bit, but her fur color is noticeably fading and she gets tired more quickly. It’s harder for her to get into the bed than it used to be, and it takes her a second longer to stand up. She’s still the same perpetually happy goofball, though.

Our vet has indicated that even though FluterDog is happy and comfortable, our quality time is limited. She estimated FluterDog would be comfortable for maybe another year, but my gut tells me that’s too optimistic.

The next eight weeks of my life are going to be absolute madness and I don’t anticipate having a lot of time to function like a human being, much less spend time with the girls. When I get back from those eight weeks, I want to make sure the time we have left is the best time we’ve had.

We bought a big fluffy bed last month, which FluterPup promptly stole. My mother quilted a lovely crate pad out of cute paw-print fleece, and I’ve set it up in FluterDog’s favorite napping area. When I’m home to supervise, I’ve been putting the space heater nearby to keep her toasty.

We’re doing treats in the morning before I leave for work, and FluterPup goes to daycare one morning a week so that FluterDog and I can hang on the floor like old times. (Unfortunately, this will be on hold until April.) Thanks to the pup, she’s finally conquered her life-long fear of the clicker, so we’ve been teaching her silly tricks. (She loves to please, and it’s a good excuse to give her more treats.) They have more stuffies than any dog needs and tend to destroy puzzle toys rather than solve them.

What else can I do to make sure the last year (or fraction thereof) the best year?