Dear Kasey …

What’s wrong, girl?

Two weeks ago you were still leaping off the deck and into the yard to do your morning business when I let you out. Steps? Who needs steps? Not you.

Even at ten years old you seemed capable of flying — as well as any dog can fly, that is.

Two weeks ago you still scrambled up our difficult spiral staircase to our loft with ease, a feat that sometimes surprised visitors when they first saw it, but which was nothing to you.

Now you wobble just getting up from the floor, and the front steps to our house seem a challenge to you. You can no longer rise to your haunches for “upsy,” your odd behavior of standing up and resting your paws in my hands while you gaze for long minutes into my eyes. (You never did learn to beg, but this half-way measure of yours became one of the most endearing things about you.)

I’m worried. A web search for “rear limb weakness in dogs” reveals at least a dozen possible causes, some treatable, some not, and none of them sounding very good. What surprises me most is how suddenly this came on.

We’ll see the vet in about an hour from now. I’ll have to help you in and out of the car, something you wouldn’t have required just two short weeks ago.

Unlike some other dogs I’ve had, you’ve always liked going to the vet. Who cares about a little poking and prodding, or even a shot or two, when there are so many people giving you attention?

What is said about flat coated retrievers certainly is true for you, even though you’re only part “flattie” as far as we can tell. You think there are two kinds of people in the world, those who are your friends and those who are going to be your friends.

I may cancel the beach trip I had planned for this weekend to stay home with you, depending on what the vet has to say. You’ve been a wonderful companion and friend for a long, long time — a time that now seems way too short.

Dear Kasey: I love you.