Copyright is held by the author.
HER VISION is limited, her hearing almost gone, but she doesn’t appear to be in pain. Her life has been long; nevertheless, it is coming to an end. Stretched out on her favourite rug my little dog, Humbug, calmly lies at peace. The afternoon light filters through the lacy curtains sprinkling her small golden-furred body in a shower of angel dust.
I must peer closely to witness the rise and fall of her chest. Her breathing is shallow. It takes perhaps a second or two for her to take a breath, and I wait a moment to observe her exhale. And then nothing. My heart pauses. Was that the last one?
The wait is intolerable. I kneel down beside her. Her eyes are shut, her nose a little dry and warm. Tears threaten to well up in my eyes. Visions of her past escapades jump through my mind. I see her stubby little legs propelling her elongated body along a winter path and watch her wiggle on ahead of me. Abruptly she stops; her nose instantly bores into a snow bank. Her cheeky doggy face emerges triumphantly sporting an unidentifiable tidbit that immediately disappears down her gullet.
Convinced I need to say good-bye I lay my hand on her. But the action causes her to stir — imperceptibly. She takes a breath. I let mine out. Her eyes open. And her tail thumps a welcoming tattoo on the rug. My tears fall anyway.