When my husband and I took Emmett to Dog Beach a couple of weeks ago, my husband commented how the place was like ‘heaven for dogs’. I was thinking the same thing, though he probably wasn’t thinking about it in as literal a context as I was.
This weekend, I went again, without my husband and kids. Just me and Emmett. He had a fantastic time, wading through the surf, visiting other dogs, getting lots of pets. It was a perfect day. That night, things started to go downhill. Fast. I threw every med in my arsenal at him; talked to multiple people about rescue treatments, got ready to cancel my upcoming anniversary trip with my husband.
Through all of this, Emmett has been so compliant, so happy. It was hard to believe he was as sick as he was. Most people had no clue, though those with more astute observational skills could pick up the shaved forearms, the temporal muscle atrophy. But then boom- it happened. He looked sick. And nothing I tried was making it better. I was text messaging my boss trying to track down Elspar and deciding whether or not I should run some IV fluids in when I took a breath, stepped back, and looked at my dog. Into his big brown trusting eyes, asking him what he wanted.
He gave me the look. The look you can’t mistake. The look that made me put down the phone, stop making phone calls to hunt down Elspar in Just One More effort, and give him what he wanted, and needed. He was ready. I wasn’t. But are we ever?
A week ago, my daughter and I were having a discussion about heaven. “What is it like?” she asked, in the literal way four year olds do.
I pondered a moment. “I think it’s like whatever you love best.”
“You walk down a path under a clear blue sky.”
“The water is warm, and there are lots of friends to play with.”
“The beach is dotted with unmonitored bags filled with treats.”
“Little old men walk by and give you donuts. And not those crummy granola fake ones. Dunkin Donuts chocolate glazed ones.”
“And you are happy.”
“You look to the one who held you close in life, standing at the end of the path. When she lets you go, you run off into the waves, happy to wait for the moment she, too, will join you.”
Take good care of him, Kevin.