She can’t settle.
I spread another thick blanket on the floor and she noses it, pushes it into a pile and then lies down but only for a few minutes and she is up again circling the blanket, trying to resettle herself. She can’t get comfortable.
I know it’s time.
It’s sunny so I bring her out on the back porch while I break down cardboard boxes and empty trash. I think she could settle there, lie in the sun with her paws hanging over the top step like she does when she basks but there is no basking to be had. It is shady on the back porch, of course it is, because it is still morning and the sun won’t reach the backyard until this afternoon.
So the sun here in the living room will have to do. She needs to spend her last day basking in the sun even if it is shining through windows still wearing the streaks of our long Wisconsin winter. She won’t judge. She never has.
Our appointment is for three o’clock.
Yesterday, the son whose dog she was before she found our way to our front door twelve years ago came to say goodbye to her. So there is no turning back now. It’s not like we could get cold feet and wait a week, have him come back to replay his farewell. This is it.
At the vet’s they will usher us in a side door so we don’t have to wait with dogs there for happier things. The person showing us to our room will have the sympathetic, quiet air of a funeral director and there will be a candle burning on the metal examination table. I will probably already be crying by this point, no, I will be crying in the car on the way there, my old dog on the seat next to me, two old broads motoring down the road on this early spring day.
It’ll all be fine.
We’ll give her a good farewell, wash her blankets, put her bowls in the back hall, and feel weird and melancholy for a while. We’ll forget she’s gone and call for her when we come in the back door. It’ll be weeks before we stop talking about how quiet the house is and we realize that taking a walk without a dog is something other people do all the time and so can we.
And after a while we will have another dog, maybe two, a full house. We wouldn’t have it any other way.