Zeke, in his Countdown, stumbles forward.
We pinch the drip tube on the meds. He’s woozy coming down, he grasps for his footing.
The morning 5-milers, have been cut to half-milers, or less, this routine interrupted indefinitely.
A rash here, a rash there, in the most personal of his private parts, all swollen and inflamed from being scratched raw. (Is there no mercy?)
His left eye, now red and goopy, fails him badly in snatching nuts tossed from a few feet. His depth perception askew, his jaws pathetically snap at air. He can’t see them.
He limps, his back foot drags a broken toe, an affliction caught chasing a friend he could not catch. His muscles atrophied, his bones snap like twigs. (This is painful to watch.)
The assurances that this, this, is a normal pattern of recovery, are landing with disbelief. The wheels on this Red Hungarian Bus, are coming off.
He lies on the floor near the air conditioning vent, panting, trying to exhale the contamination.
“How are you Bud?”
He looks up, sees the biscuit in my hand, but doesn’t get up. He wags his tail, in rhythm to the words: life is good, life is good.
“I’m OK Dad, this will be OK.”
The poignancy of a dog’s death is that it’s different only in degree, not in kind, from a human’s. Afterward, there’s that same resonant pause in which you watch and in which you observe how curious it is how the world rushes on. You come home and expect to see the beloved. You wonder where the years went. In the end, our dogs’ greatest gift to us is the saddest: they sprint ahead, pointing the way to our common fate.
~ Richard Gilbert, Why I Hate My Dog