(This was originally posted on May 26, 2014, our last Memorial Day with Dylan. We had to put him down on October 1, 2014. This is one of the last times he was strong enough to swim and play with his tennis ball.)
Yesterday my wife and I spent a rare day out with Dylan, our 12-1/2 year old chocolate Labrador retriever. We don’t get to do this very often because of our schedules and we have another dog who gets VERY upset if we leave him out of anything we do, especially if it involves Dylan.
But yesterday Miguel’s doggie daycare was open and Dylan’s was closed (yes, they go to separate daycares), and since neither of us had much going on during the holiday, we took Dylan for an outing.
If you’ve been following this blog you know that Dylan is really starting to show is age. His legs are creaky and wobbly, he’s beginning to have trouble jumping up into the car, and his bowels are definitely not as strong as they used to be.
As I wrote last summer, I’ve begun to come to grips with the fact that he won’t be around much longer, so now, every time we take him to one of his favorite places I wonder if it will be for the last time.
Yesterday I wanted to take him somewhere he could swim and play fetch, two things he even likes them more than treats. Normally we take him to the Magnuson Off-Leash Dog Park to swim, but we were just there on Saturday, and since he’s been hobbling around a bit lately, I didn’t want to make him walk the 1/4 mile or so it takes to get to the water.
We ended up taking him to a little park on Lake Union under the I-5 bridge. When we first got Dylan I worked across the street from the park and I took him there to play whenever he came to the office with me. It’s a very tiny park, but it’s quiet and has water access.
Dylan perked up when we pulled up to the park. I’ve only taken him there once or twice since I stopped working nearby in 2005, but he always knows that when we pull up to it that it’s BALL TIME!
Not surprisingly, he didn’t play as long as he did in his younger days, but that’s the new normal with him. And after a few swims after the ball and runs after it on land he did something to his front leg and pulled up lame so that limited his playtime further.
He didn’t seem to mind – 10 or 15 minutes of ball chasing is all he can handle nowadays anyway.
After he rested a bit we all piled back in the car to find a place to eat. Since it was sunny and warm (which is shocking unusual for Memorial Day in Seattle), we wanted to go somewhere that was dog friendly so we could take him inside with us.
We thought about going to Norm’s Alehouse in Fremont, but we’ve already been there with the dogs a couple of times and we wanted to try a new place.
We ended up at KISS Cafe in Ballard. The food was good, the people (servers and patrons) were friendly, and it is definitely dog friendly.
The only negative I can say about KISS is that it’s small. If you don’t get a table towards the back of the place that has more floorspace you have to sit at the bar or at one of tables towards the front where floor space is limited.
When we arrived all the tables were taken so we sat at the bar. Dylan blocked the narrow aisle when he stretched out on the floor. Fortunately no one minded – they just stepped over and around him. He even got a few friendly pats from kids and waitstaff. He may have also gotten a few tastes of our lunch.
If you want to go out to eat with your dog, KISS is a great option. Just remember that if you have a big dog you may have to wait a little while for a table in the back where there will be room for it to stretch out.
After eating we hoisted Dylan back in the car and headed home. He was definitely worn out – he took longer than usual to climb the 45 stairs to our house and promptly fell asleep for the rest of the day.
But as I worked on the couch after we got back while Dylan slept next to me, I couldn’t help but wonder how many of these days we have left.