I Live With An Old Man by Heidi Hirsch

October 21st

I live with an old man 

And he lives with an old lady.

His name is Elijah. 

Like most old men, he is proud, stubborn, belches, can silently stink up a room and act like it was someone else, and I am madly, passionately, crazy in love with him.

We met at the Los Angeles North Central Shelter in May of 2007. I’m a sucker for redheads.  Actually to be exact, a red tricolored Australian Shepherd.  At the time the shelter guesstimated Eli to be 4-5 years. I guess that makes him about 15-16.

Through the years, we have gotten used to each others ways. He’s not much for that mushy stuff, which I miss, but he’s a man and apparently he sees that as a bit girly. He has a self-proclaimed job to always be alert and on guard. Smoochy stuff just gets in the way.

He takes his job seriously, protecting his house, his mother, and his car. There have been several occasions where he’s taking that protection a bit too far and I’ve had to replace some jeans and apologize profusely. There was that time when he went after my friend Kathy’s leather jacket. That bite stung my wallet!

These days I’m the one that stays alert and always on guard to make sure he’s safe. Eli has signs of dementia. While I’m pretty sure I still have my wits about me, it’s a bit concerning when we both end up in the same room, at the same time, wondering why  we’re there, and what did we come into the room for.

We have grown older together merging our patterns to keep an eye out for each other.

I’ll wander into the living room every morning to check and see if he is still breathing. He comes into the bedroom and checks to see if I’m still breathing. It’s an unspoken silent courtesy.

With my coffee, and his snacks, we go outside to check on the birds, the squirrels, the koi, and mother nature in general. While I’m contemplating my day, he’s contemplating when and where to do his business. After awhile, we head back into the house. I help him get up the steps. Elijah has a ramp which he goes down, but he won’t go up.

Under his watchful eye from his bed in the kitchen, I prepare his breakfast as he stars me down as if I might skimp on his meal. He has a good appetite and loves his treats.  As I said, we have similar traits.

I recently put him through an MRI.  It wasn’t an easy decision but I couldn’t live with myself watching him labor to walk and not knowing why and more importantly, blindly making decisions about his health with medication.  As it turns out, there is an annoying disc that makes his walking difficult. I want to fix him but won’t put him through surgery.  

So, I’m on a mission! Cold laser therapy, CPD oils, and pain killers. The pain killers are for me.

My vet says getting older is not a disease, nice to know.

I wish the same could be said about us humans.

I know that Eli is winding down and I am gearing up. I am fierce about my “first kiss to last breath” commitment. Each day Elijah and I greet the morning with thanks to the universe for another joyous opportunity to share our lives together. So, maybe he doesn’t verbalize it, but I know. Elijah has taught me about life and how to enjoy it through love and kindness.

Eat, sleep, belch, fart, wag your tail, take naps, express excitement over your friends, always stay near to your loved ones, protect with passion, make noisy greetings, never turn down a treat, always say thank you —ok, we’re still working on that—nudge your affection, no need to get mushy, remember that actions will always speak louder than barking, and when it’s all said and done, there ain’t nothin’ like a ride in the car and frozen yogurt!

Crazy in love and proud 



About Heidi:

Maintaining the belief that life is best enjoyed with humor and a seven second delay, Heidi relies on Mother Nature for the morning news, her animals to keep her responsible, and good friends to check her socks to make sure they match.  She is currently with Reveal Studio in Glendale, California as a Project Manager.

2 Responses to “I Live With An Old Man by Heidi Hirsch”

  1. Wanda Baker says:

    Love your blog about you & Eli. What a man!

  2. Dorothy Buhrman says:

    Wow Heidi! This is my favorite blog of yours. Being a dog lover–and anyone else who is can relate. That’s what I like about your blogs. We can all identify with you. Thank you for sharing this heartfelt story.

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