Waiting for the end


I sat and waited, staring at the door. I noticed that the maple veneer was taken from consecutive layers on the tree, butterflied so that the pattern of the grain formed a nearly symmetrical mirror image. The doctor—whose name was Stacie, coincidentally—came in and gave us the results. She showed us the x-rays that revealed a large mass, which had grown rapidly in the last couple of weeks. There were also white spots. Calcification, she said. He most likely had cancer. There wasn’t much she could do for him at his age.

After all, 14 was really old. For a Rottweiler.

The whole family was there, and we waited for what seemed like an eternity. The doctor assured us that we could rest easy knowing it was completely fair to him to let him go without putting him through further procedures.

Finally, we went into a room with a couch, and they brought in my big sweet dog; my 100-lb lap dog. They laid him on the couch, and we surrounded him, and whispered our gratitude to him for all the years of faithful love and companionship. I sat at his head, with his head in my lap—just the way he liked. He soaked up the attention the way he always did. He was everyone’s buddy; if you petted him, you were a friend for life!

After a bit, the doctor came in, and it seemed like it took forever to get the medicines in. He looked up at me, annoyed, as she struggled with the vein in his leg, and then as the medicine took effect, he slowly laid his head in my lap and breathed for the last time.

I kissed his head, and whispered one last goodbye to my dearest and most faithful nonhuman friend. At last, there was no more struggling, no pain, no loneliness for him. I know we did what was best for him.

But it’s killing me.

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