Mary kept getting up in the night to try to help Latte stand. The dog had slipped under the bed, and couldn’t right herself. Her back legs haven’t worked properly for months now, but the weakness in her shoulders is new. And she no longer has the strength to drag herself upright.
The problem is that she doesn’t want help. When you get up she stops struggling and pretends to be resting. Oh, you’re up? I was just lying here thinking about marmots. Don’t mind me.
The other problem is that her body hurts and if you touch her hips or shoulders, she’ll yelp and snap. No one has been bitten. And no one wants to be bitten. And no one wants to bite.
The end of a 14-year-old dog is a terrible end. But that is true for all of us. Nobody wants to be in pain. Nobody wants to be done.
We had to wrap her head in a towel to move her. We had to wrap her head in a towel to carry her down the stairs outside.
We had to call the vet this morning to make an appointment for her death. The most terrible of terrible things. Let’s meet at 3, shall we, and you can kill my dog while I hold her and sob?
I just did this last year with Kali. I’ll meet you at noon and watch you kill my dog.
I am so sad it doesn’t seem possible that there’s room for anger, but there is. She followed me last night and wouldn’t settle until she was sure I was staying in the room with her. She did the same thing this morning.
I get it. She’s ready, and I get it. Even now she’s more worried about my feelings than her own. It’s time. It’s OK. It’s time. Don’t worry about me. I’m just resting.
People who don’t love dogs think we make this shit up. That we imagine the way they commune with us. Even now in my anger, I am glad that those people are wrong. Nobody will ever love you like a dog loves you. Nobody is as generous as they are. As forgiving. In fact, I think the miraculous thing about them is that it never occurs to them to forgive. They don’t even acknowledge that you have failed them. They love you as though you are always shiny.
She’ll wag her tail at the end. I know she will. She’ll rest against me as though I weren’t complicit in her death. As though there were nothing to forgive.