“She looks thick,” my daughter said. I didn’t see it. I thought she looked thin. She’d always been trim, our Minnie. The vet complimented us on having dogs that were fit, the right weight. But lately, she’d been skipping meals. She’d come in from being let out first thing in the morning and go back upstairs to bed, leaving her breakfast untouched.

We figured it was summer like it would matter to a dog that sometimes it felt too hot to eat.

“No, she looks thick. Look at her across the chest and her front legs,” she said. So I looked hard and it seemed like Minnie had been lifting weights. Her chest was bulky and her legs almost bow-legged.

I reached down to pat her chest and I felt it. Whatever it is filled my whole hand. The cancer she had in a rear leg a year ago has likely come back in this new spot.

She has lost her chase. No tearing off to the beach. No hankering for sticks thrown in the water. No wrestling her brother dog to the ground.

There is just her patient, sweet watching.

We never saw it coming, except we did.