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Written by Lincoln’s Mom:

A couple of weekends ago, while at the cabin on a beautiful morning, I grabbed my coffee, my dogs, and my camera, and headed down to the dock. I brought a book, too, but it’s always hard to concentrate. The sheer beauty of the surroundings and the constant lake flurry is distracting. The book was quickly discarded while I watched the duck and geese parents shepherd their babies hither and yon, and the boats with the fishers and the boats with wake-boarders, or the ospreys, or the eagles, or…well, you get my point.

Truth be told, though, the real distraction was Lincoln. He’s getting gray. His muzzle and face are turning white. I wonder how this crept up on me. Certainly the whiteness didn’t appear over night.  For a moment, I was panicked.

MY DOG IS GETTING OLD.

Then it hit me….I shouldn’t view this as something bad. I should celebrate. This is Lincoln, the dog who was beaten and abused, who has been cut up and lost body parts, who has had brain surgery and knee surgery and chemotherapy. Lincoln, the dog who has not only accepted, but embraced his new reality time after time after time. Lincoln, who runs and smiles and swims like there is no tomorrow.   He reminds me of this quote by Voltaire, “Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.”

LINCOLN IS GETTING OLD.

I never thought this day would come, I guess. I now realize that deep down, in the awful and dark places inside of me, I never believed that Lincoln’s hair had any chance at all to turn white. I didn’t have any real hope that I would get to see him age. It didn’t matter to me, though. I accepted long ago, probably in the brain tumor days, that he would likely not live out his life in a normal way. He will be ten this year. He is a giant dog. He has had more health issues than any creature should ever have to endure.

I think that’s why it came as such a surprise. I just never expected it, as awesome as it is. I didn’t plan for it, or look for it. It just happened. Seemingly overnight.

MY DOG IS GETTING OLD.

He has the heart of a lion, and the courage of a warrior. He is just as you would expect a golden retriever to be. He has no ulterior motives and he carries no grudges. His memory is short. I envy that.

Even as I write this I’m especially aware of how awful this sounds. I’m horrified to be talking about Lincoln growing old when so many others are not given that chance. I think of brothers lost and the legion of canine companions taken from us far too soon. I remember too well the tragedy and the ragged, despairing grief that thrives on it, the very worst of parasites.

And so I say again, my dog, my amazing, brave, resilient, irrepressible dog is getting old. I say it with reverence and with respect and sorrow for those, both human and canine, who were not allowed this same chance. I thank those who lead the way down the path I will surely find myself on, either sooner or later. Their journey is mine from which to learn. I won’t squander the lessons.

Lincoln has overcome more adversity than I could ever recognize. I finally understand, however, that when it comes to him, I will only be appreciative for what we have, and let go of what we have lost. He certainly has, and I owe him that. If he can do it, I can too.

Lincoln is getting old. His fur is growing white. I am grateful beyond words.

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.  ~Epictetus

——– In loving memory of Catie Caitlin, who was with us largely, but not nearly long enough. May her beautiful spirit live far longer than her body. ————-

  1. krun15’s avatar

    Beautifully said.
    I had some similar thoughts when Maggie beat the odds and made it to her 11th birthday. Why us?
    But then I realized there is a purpose- and that is what we need to find and share.

    Karen

  2. etgayle’s avatar

    blessings to you all, this is so true. although we all find ourselves hating the disease, we must remember it is most important to love the moments.

    charon & gayle

  3. fortisdad’s avatar

    Lincoln’s Mom,

    Beautifully written and very insightful. Your writings always give one reason to pause and to ponder…..

    I must admit though that after reading your blog this morning I sat back and gasped in realization of the implications of my long white beard 🙂

    “Greybeards” rule Lincoln!!!

    Brett

  4. admin’s avatar

    Sing on, old boy. 🙂

  5. fightingforsammy’s avatar

    Rhonda,
    your writing always draws me into the moment. I look forward to your reading your blog everytime you update it. It sounds beautiful to be at the lake, and so much more beautiful to have this time with Lincoln. I am so glad you get to watch his face turn grey.

    Many hugs and we really look forward to seeing you on the 10th!

    Elizabeth and Lincolns BFF Sammy

  6. Ginger’s avatar

    God bless old dogs – especially those that are kicking cancer’s ass. You have expressed beautifully what our family has been feeling too. I think the only thing we can do is live every day like it is our last. Don’t ever miss the opportunity to tell people what they mean to you. With that in mind, thank you all for the kind support and inspawration you have given to our family.

    Ginger

    P.S. Lincoln – I like your grey beard. It makes you look distinguished. My face got grey when I was young and long before that stupid cancer took my leg.

  7. tombi’s avatar

    Such a sweet sentiment. I think his grey is quite distinguished and well earned after facing so many challenges in life. Beautiful pictures, thanks for sharing.

  8. chilidawg’s avatar

    beautifully written, brought tears to my eyes!

    Jenna, Chili Dawg’s mom

  9. CatiesMom’s avatar

    Oh man, Rhonda. Eloquent and insightful and poignant. As always. And just when I thought I was done with crying I’m sitting here all snotty nosed again. At work. Thanks for that.

    I think there’s a picture of Lincoln in my Oxford dictionary, right beside the word glory. Give that graying muzzle a kiss from us.

    Catie thanks you. Riley thanks you. And you know I thank you.

  10. janeothejungle’s avatar

    Lincolns is not “olds”, he is mature an dignifieds an everythings a great dog should be (AND he swims!!). If evers there was a dog to look ups too, is him. I hopes he will be arounds for a long times to come!! Keeps Swimmins Buddy!!

    Luvs,
    Hurricane Rosie

  11. jerry’s avatar

    My Dog is Getting Old! My Dog is Getting Old!

    Rejoice! For there is another wise old soul in this world teaching our humans about the things that really matter.

    Like signing in lifeboats.

    Here’s to that sweet music, and your sweet song Lincoln. We are honored to be here watching you grow old.

    xoxo

  12. riosmom’s avatar

    Beautiful! And oh, so appropriate. You said exactly what I’ve been thinking lately about Rio. (Which is why I am sitting here wiping away the tears….)

    Micki

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