Our little girls. This month, they both turn 10 years old with Lulu's birthday on 16th January and Lily's birthday is on Monday, 26th January. 10 years old which is of course, 70 years old in dog years which sounds much too old, much too soon. Lily is obsessed with fetching balls and being with her soft toys. She always has a toy on rotation that she cuddles up to and nurses on and at the moment it is a tiger with long legs that drags between her body as she carries it around the house and into the back yard, looking for a patch of sun to lay in for the afternoon. She trots rather than strolls - always getting to her destination as fast as possible.
She is a people dog and will magically appear on your lap without any invitation. I can remember when Lily had her 2nd eye operation to avoid blindness in one eye and with a rather large cone on her head she couldn't get around easily at all. As I lay in bed that night I heard her crying - desperate for the closeness of someone to ease her discomfort. I slept on the couch that night, holding her tight with the cone uncomfortably between us.
Lulu on the other hand is the quintessential lap dog that prefers to lounge and sleep. She is my shadow that will follow me from room to room. She will watch me leave the house through the office window and still be there at the window when I return, even hours later. She is my constant companion who meanders through the garden slowly - sniffing, licking and watching what is happening around her at a leisurely pace. She is soft and fluffy to touch, loves her ears being scratched and snores gently as she sleeps. She will also miraculously appear the moment you open the fridge or the pantry, hoping for a small morsel to tide her over until dinner.
Unfortunately, Lulu has been very unwell for the past 6 months and her presence in my life is something I've been thinking of for some time and I am not sure how much longer she will be with us. Her heart is enlarged and struggling to pump enough oxygen through her body and last November she collapsed after our return from Noosa. I took her to the vet that afternoon and held her close as I cried when the vet explained her health problems that were not curable but hopefully treatable. She is a bit of a time bomb that could go off at any time so I am trying to remember to cuddle and tell her how much I love her every day.
Not long after she collapsed I realised that I had been putting off getting a portrait session with our family. I have plenty of photos of my family and the dogs, but of course none with me in them so I contacted my friend, Jemma Keech, who was kind enough to fit us in. I didn't realise at the time that the dogs would be turning 10 years old so soon after so it has turned out to be a happy coincidence to celebrate this moment in our lives.
We plan on spending our Australia Day playing fetch with Lily in the pool and giving Lulu lots of treats and sharing a peanut butter doggie cake in the afternoon to celebrate them and our little family. Happy birthday girls!
Photos by Jemma Keech