9. Asked for help.
I would rather that people offer help, instead of my putting myself out there and risking the discomfort, on both sides, of refusal, but when I needed help, I learned to take the chance.
Not only does the widow no longer have the mate to chop up the remains of a rotted tree,
but also there is the family to care for. I could bring Lulu to my dog-friendly office, but such service was beyond Cooper, cocooned as he was in limited vision and brain function. Daily Cooper duty proved too much to ask, so instead I asked five friends each to choose one weekday. They came to the house midday, let Cooper into the yard, talked to him for a few minutes, and gave him a biscuit.
From my end, at least, it worked splendidly—OK, a neighbor, incomprehensibly, forgot Cooper one day, but he survived. And I think another friend wondered why I was keeping the dog alive, but never mind.
Because it extended our family. Before Christmas, Cooper and I sat together on the couch with a catalogue and ordered tulip plants for all his helpers.
And at Valentine’s Day, when I was feeling particularly bereft, Cooper and I had five Valentines to send.