|Andy on inflatable bed downstairs.|
By 2004, Abby had noticeably slowed down. She was 8 and well into middle age. Her arthritis was getting to her. In the mornings, she was slow to get up and get moving. She walked slower. One of our biggest challenges was to cross the pedestrian walk before the “Don’t Walk” sign came flashed. Abby limped sometimes. I had to help her get in the car. I would lift her rump while she would use her front legs to climb in. When she got out, I would lift her from the seat and put her on the ground. Jumping on the ground hurt her. She would walk over to the driver’s seat and wait for me to pick her up and put her on the ground.
The visits at my condo were shorter. Abby had a hard time negotiating all the walking required in condo living. At my mom’s, she only had to walk a few steps from the door to use the bathroom. At my condo, she had to walk dozens of yards. It was getting harder on her and it showed.
She had a hard time going up and down stairs. I stopped sleeping upstairs in the loft where my bed was. Therefore, Abby would not have to make that excruciating trip up and down. It hurt just to watch her go on the stairs. To avoid the stairs, I bought an inflatable mattress and put it in the living room. This suited the Babies well.
The stories about the Babies from here on will most likely not be happy. Both Babies were middle aged at this point. They turned into companions as opposed to play things when they were younger. I was seeing signs of mortality in them and wanted to stave off the inevitable as long as I could.