Sparkle’s last day looked a little something like this:
We’d been letting her sleep at the foot of our bed. She’d been having trouble getting comfortable, her breathing getting rougher as each day wore on. So there, on the foot of a soft bed, stretched out at our feet was just fine for her best night’s sleep. I woke Sunday morning to her head resting on my ankle, hesitant to move at first, but she politely ignored me while I crept out of bed to get ready for my run.
Later that morning I got back from a long run to find her little moved: She’d spent the morning relaxing in the living room, trying to stay cool and enjoying the extra attention from Claire.
We had lunch. I made a grilled cheese sandwich from my latest loaf of homemade bread. She wasn’t too sick to mooch a few slivers of cheddar though. She could smell that package opening from wherever she was in the house.
I washed the truck in the front yard. She stood in the driveway watching. Just standing there mostly, but sneaking in the garage every few minutes to nab a treat from the treat bucket. Normally she only got one a day, but it was the kind of slow burning weekend where I didn’t feel right to deny her any extra indulgence.
We retreated to the house after that. It was warm. I turned on the TV and I napped for a bit on the couch, still worn out from my long run. She followed suit, but stretched out in a small beam of sun on the floor.
After dinner we tried a family walk in the park. She was excited to go, but that excitement faded quickly as she tired quickly within a few short steps. The puppy we once knew had long left the slowly sauntering animal who plodded along at the end of a slack leash now. She could walk a few meters then pause to sniff the grass and catch her breath.
Claire readied for bed, and Sparkle sat on her bedroom floor as I read another few pages of our latest bedtime book. She had that habit, watching over Claire as we put her to bed each night. Nine years of stories. Nine years of patient routine. It might have been something bigger, but mostly I think she just knew that she got her treat after Claire had lights-out.
She was hot and tired. It had rained a bit. The house was cooler, but still quite warm. I think she was hurting or unable to get settled or it was just easier to hide her pain from us that way. I think this is why she spent this particular Sunday evening stretched out on the floor of our bedroom. She didn’t really come fetch us for bedtime or bother much when we forced her outside for her nightly bathroom routine and then right back to the floor where she had been most comfortable.
I was just barely dozing when I was startled back awake by the commotion. She had jolted up and stumbled out of her own bed, crashing into the wall in the process. We jumped out of bed, too, and lifted her from the floor up there in our place, setting her softly onto the plush pillow she’d been sleeping on for the last year. Her body shuddered a few times, quaking as we held onto her and petted her head and back. Her breathing slowed and then stopped. And then she was still.
Good bye my dear friend.