Saturday, July 21, 2007
Sometime between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., our dog Rosie died.
She'd been a three-legged dog for about four months, getting used to negotiating stairs on three legs and licking her shaved hindquarters faithfully until the hair grew back. Amputating her leg was supposed to save her life, but the cancer had spread to her lungs, so she began coughing and started refusing all but the most delectable food tidbits. Yesterday, she turned up her nose at a hot dog and wouldn't take any medicine. Her last week was spent mostly lying under the porch swing as the flowers in the backyard waved gently in the breeze and the finches alighted on the bird feeder. She would lift her dry nose to feel the air wafting past and wag her tail at the approach of her family.
In spite of our coaxing, last night she wouldn't come in the house. While the kids and I went to the book store to retrieve the latest Harry Potter book, my husband sat on the ground beside her and she burrowed her nose into his lap, perking up her ears at his voice. He thought she had weeks to go. I thought otherwise. I watched how she wouldn't make eye contact with my daugher when we returned home. Grace sat with Rosie in the dark until friends arrived, taking Grace to an all night reading party.
I asked Rosie again if she didn't want to come in the house. She lapped at the water Grace had placed beside her and settled her nose on her tan paws. The clock read 1 a.m.
At 6 a.m. I wrenched myself from my bed. I was meeting friends for a run. Our black and white cat raced ahead of me down the stairs, anticipating his breakfast. I poured the dry food into his bowl and stepped to the sliding glass doors. Rosie lay on her side in the grass, her paws folded in front of her, no longer breathing.
I am sad she died, but I appreciate the way she lived and how she spent those last weeks of her life. I could learn a lot from her.
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