Seated with both my grandchildren for an after-school snack at my kitchen table, they filled me in on their day. It was Friday afternoon and their parents were at the vet with Gully, the family's elderly chocolate lab. At 14.5 years of age (or using a common rule of thumb, 101 in human years, as my grandson is always quick to point out), his health appeared to be failing and the family was a little anxious about what the results of that appointment would bring.
While we three chatted about this and that, their pet was clearly on my grandson's mind. Midway through his sister's detailed description of her library book's plot, he turned to me and said that Gully only had four senses left. When I asked him to elaborate, he told me that their dog could not see or hear, and left it at that. I was a little confused by his math, thinking five minus two equals three. This six year old enjoys solving number problems in his mind, so a simple equation like this would be very easy for him. However, I didn't question him any further since his sister had already launched into another anecdote she wanted to share.
It wasn't until the following morning, while running in the canyon, that it hit me. A few weeks earlier, the three of us had been talking about the sixth sense. A conversation about how valuable it is but often overlooked in our culture when we consider all our senses. It seems he had factored this in when referring to his dog's remaining faculties - Gully may be deaf and blind, but according to my grandson, along with taste, touch, and smell, his sixth sense seems to be going strong. And as the vet later reported, he is one of the healthiest old labs she's ever seen, giving this family one more Thanksgiving together.