Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Days end
petals fall
sunrises descend
life and death and up and down 
but you can love forever
ask a dog

Monday, August 29. Hershey won't see the Witch hazel bloom.

She's gone. She left behind just a small pool of blood on a beautiful day while late summer shrub roses bloomed by the mailbox. A new tennis ball was a few feet away.

With a mug of fresh coffee halfway to my lips, I went downstairs where she had stretched out on the floor. She was huffing that morning from discomfort, I thought.

I found her resting in her favorite spot with her sore belly against cool basement tile. Another step and I saw blood around her head. Looking back  at yesterday, I now see how still things were -- I had stepped inside a photograph of something that had come, click, then gone.


I crouched down and rested my head on hers. With a day's perspective I realize that I also saw something unexpected:

Jerry and I were on the patio Tuesday and he was sitting in his spot where he would toss the ball for Hershey.

It's not the same, he said.

Looking at a straggly strawberry plant in a pot, I said, there are strawberries.

She liked to eat them, he said.

You know, maybe this is strange, I said, but yesterday when I found her, I felt peaceful.


She was hurting Monday and for the first time in 11 years, she chose to stay home as I grabbed Lily's leash and laced my hiking boots. I gave her a last glance before leaving. She sat still. Not coming.
She died quietly, maybe while I was out with the other dogs, or maybe she died while listening to feet shuffling overhead after I returned, made coffee, and fed everyone before checking on her. 


I sat petting her, looking at her beautiful brown eyes and wondering how close I was to being with her for her last breath. Reaching up I snagged my coffee off the counter and got back on the floor with Hershey.  I told her little, happy things. 
My coffee is delicious, Hershey; that rose bush bloomed again. 
I just sat for a few minutes before walking next-door where my friend Tim was at work.


Did the dog die?

Struggling to speak, I asked, would you help me move her before Jerry gets home?

I wanted her outside in the breezy, sunny day with life surrounding her. 

I cut some fresh wildflowers and hydrangea blooms. They made a pretty bouquet that I stuffed in an empty wine bottle and placed it next to her.


Driving her body to the vet, Jerry said, she was in her favorite spot.

Yes, and left alone there, with the basement to herself. No Lily there to bully her out of her spot.

I had put my head next to hers and checked her final view through the skylight…drifting clouds, tree shadows, blue sky. A beautiful day to die.

She left that hurting body behind.

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