Well, today—March 16th, 2006—is Ketzl’s 9th birthday.

It’s a milestone I really never thought Ketzl would reach, but I suppose I shouldn’t be so pessimistic: I didn’t think she’d make it through to last spring, nor this calendar year, but she keeps surprising me.

Surprise is one of those things dogs deal with a lot better than we do. Dogs who lose limbs wake from their amputation, try to stand, look mildly surprised and then adjust. Just like that.

When she first got her wheelchair, Ketzl was a little surprised, but delighted that she could walk again, on her own. Seconds later, no surprise at all. It’s just one of those things.

The first time she fell over because her back and front legs were too weak to keep her upright: surprised. Seconds later, she looked at me in a way that clearly said “C’mon, Dave. You saw I was going to fall. Get with it!”

Me, I’m surprised every day I wake and she’s still there with us. But mostly, I’m surprised by how deeply I care.