I know that when Bessie stands in her food bowl, submerged to the ankles in chicken breast au jus, she is not the same dog she once was. This dog, unselfconsciously wearing her dinner like socks, is not the fastidious friend who used to clean herself, borderline obsessively, like a cat.

I know that when I find her asleep, chin resting in a patch of urine on one of the 10 wee-wee pads lining her puppy-proofed area of the apartment, this is not the same dog who was so resolutely housebroken that I had trouble pad-training her to begin with.

I know that when she tumbles off her foam bed onto her back, flailing like Kafka’s beetle, this is not the same dog who used to spontaneously leap from the ground into my arms when startled (luckily, my reflexes were up to the task).

I know that when she walks into a corner and is unable to find her way out, reduced to plaintive yelps so piercing…

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