He's sleeping beside me now. It's awful, his sense of trust in me is deep - I feel it in his peacefulness. But I know. Friday at 2 pm, the vet will come to the house and Eric will die. The idea astonshes me. A life without my dog. He did well for a few days after we came home but now his breathing has become laboured and life has become arduous for him. Last night, for the first time in 16 years, he chose not to sleep on the bed. It has been hard for him to jump up but Joe lifted him gently on to the pillow that he's slept on all these years. But last night he came beside me on the bed and looked up at me, he let me pet him and then he simply lay down. He didn't want to even try.
I understand. I'm old. I get tired like that too. There are days I don't want to even try either. At two or three in the morning we were both awoken by the sound of Eric breathing. It was hard for him to simply pull air in and out. I turned the light on to see him and he didn't wake. He just slept. Peacefully. Like he will, forever, in only a few hours from now.
We, Joe and I decided, that we would wait until Friday. This would give us time to spoil him unstintingly. Forget what's good for him, he's getting what he likes. Like me, he's a sugar boy. He loves all treats, of course, he's a dog. But when he's got sugar in his mouth his eyes go big and it's like he can't believe how good it is. Yesterday he downed 20 Timbits. Today, he'll get cheesecake. If he wants it, he can have it. He's earned it.
He cared for me through two life threatening illnesses.
He stayed with Joe, supporting him all the hours I was in the hospital.
He listened to me as I cried my frustrations out to him.
He was Joe's constant companion on car rides and walks around the property.
He stood steadfast when I needed a firm anchor.
His heart was big enough to love us two as one.
So, let him eat cake. He's enjoying the food but you can tell he knows. Always a social animal, he spends most of his time - when not licking icing off his face - sleeping by the door, or outside on the deck. He comes in to be petted, but only a little. He is withdrawing from us - like while he's still here, he wants to prepare us for the emptiness.
And it frightens me. Sometimes when he's been out of the room for an hour - something he has never done before. I call to him, panic filling my voice, and he comes. He pads up beside me and gives me his head to scratch. But he looks at me like he's saying, please Dave, let me go.
And I will.
Friday at 2.
Because I love him.
Because we both love him.