As hard as it is for me to believe, Tessa will be fifteen years old next month. Those years have flown by, in so many ways.
Tessa, for me, is still the relcalcitrant, surly little hooligan I tried to haul to work with me at six weeks, with her bucking and flailing at the end of the lead, as I slipped and slid on an icy Yorkville sidewalk, cursing her stubborn little bulldog brain.
She’s also still the doting mother who never once willingly weaned a litter (she still allowed Sailor to nurse on her, for comfort if not food, when Sailor was almost six months old).
She’s the smart, sassy little dog who taught me that French Bulldogs are NOT like other dogs when it comes to training, and that what might work with a Mastiff will barely make a dent on a Frenchie’s conciousness.
Tessa is doing remarkably fine for a dog of her advanced years. Other than a few episodes of ‘idiopathic neuropathy’, breath that could melt paint, faded vision, limited hearing, a wobbly rear, and a reappearing growth on the side of her neck, she’s still mobile and happy to be here with us. She enjoys warm fireplaces, polar fleece dog beds, short drives in the car, and shorter walks up the wooded path behind our house.
She also still engages in the occasional battle for dominance with her daughter, granddaughters, great grandkids and great great grandkids. A few days ago, she launched herself at Penelope, apparently because Penelope was ‘looking at her funny’. Nell responding by rolling Tessa off the couch, and Tessa sulked her way over to her crate, where she sat grumbling about the lack of respect in today’s kids.
Tessa is a daily reminder to me that no matter how much I love our puppies, there will always be a special place in my heart for our senior dogs, and an irreplaceable spot for my Grand French Bulldog Matriarch.
Long may she reign.