The familiar brown fuzz now patched with gray flowed through my fingers as the final tinks of the car engine settled. How had we gotten to this point? Once amber eyes now covered in a cloudy haze looked up at me. I wondered if there was anything there that could still recognize me. A labored sniff confirmed otherwise. I continued to brush the tufts of fur straight as they fought to remain curly, grazing each rib along her side. This didn’t feel right. She had always created jealousy in others from being well-behaved and listening to commands. She was the one that stuck her head in the river and came up with a fish tight between her jowls as people stared in amazement. She never whimpered while getting pricked by the needle that stitched that dog bite closed. She wasn’t weak. I felt a coldness on my hand and looked down. Her paw was now resting on my arm as she nuzzled my hand. She was ready even if I wasn’t.
“Ok old girl let’s get you inside” I murmured.
I got out of the car and walked to the passenger side door. I opened it to see her slouched against the back of the seat but sitting upright.
“You really must be raring to go huh?” I teased trying to make light of the situation.
I lifted her out of the seat and carried her into the waiting room. I held her as I checked in at the front desk, slowly stroking her head as I was told that a vet would be with me shortly. I thanked the secretary and walked to a seat.
“Not long to go now.” I whispered into her long matted ear.
I sat in silence while she curled up in my lap and licked at my hand. I did all I could to keep it together.
A voice called out from the hallway that led to the back.
“Yup, that’s us.” I responded as I hoisted her up one last time.
I followed the vet to an open door down the hall and turned into the room. A wide metal table sat before me with a tray holding two needles and two small bottles.
“If you could just lay her down there for me.” the vet said as he motioned to the table.
I gave her a kiss on the head before laying her down.
“Ok, this will be relatively quick. This first shot is a heavy pain killer to numb her pain.” the vet clarified as he began filling the first needle from one of the two bottles.
He grabbed one of her legs and began to inject the dose. It had started before I could think. My eyes began to tear before I even knew which emotion I was actually feeling. It seemed like all of them at once. I kept stroking her head as I fought to keep my eyes clear.
“And this is the dose that will do the rest.”
The vet spoke more softly now, knowing that he was falling into the background. He moved back to her leg. I pushed my face close into Scouts and began to stroke her ears faster as her fur under my hands started to become damp. Scout licked at my face and I knew she was trying to wipe away the fear I had until she slowly stopped. I didn’t want to open my eyes. I didn’t want to see the world that now lay before me. I suddenly felt a hand on my shoulder and heard a voice that seemed miles away.