My dog Mel died this morning after a week-long descent. For most of that week walks with her companion, Poppy, have been one-dog affairs, and today the lack felt desolate. Till last night there remained the prospect of a rally, a sustainable improvement. I sit here writing with Poppy alone at my feet. She is sad, though I don’t know if that is because she understands what has happened or whether it is a reflection of the mood in the house. Mel sometimes used not to come when called for her walk, but would then scamper to the door at the last minute — delighting in her game. Last night she was briefly pleased to see me when I came to fiddle with her drip or inject her, and that was the last moment spare for sociability. The rest was suffering, though I believe she was glad not to be alone in her agony.
The process of homeostatic disentegration always ends with an accident; it is a straw that breaks the camel’s back. Hope of recovery only ended after her suffering became indecent. The right intervention might still just have given her both quality of life and better prospects, and was only prevented by a logistical failure: her drip stopped working and couldn’t be fixed at that hour except by taking her to a veterinary clinic where she would probably have perished anyway, alone in a metal cage. She stopped breathing the following morning a few minutes after I injected her with the prescribed opioid analgesic. During the night I considered giving her an overdose, but less was enough. She died unobserved amidst phone calls to vets, after a night at our side.
I cannot stop seeing her frolicking in my mind’s eye.