Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fetching Alanis, day two

She ate maybe half a cup of kibble. I mixed it with water because she refused to drink. I was not worried about her eating; her sides felt as if losing a pound or two would not hurt. Drinking, though, she had to drink.

During Darwin’s last few weeks of life, I lived in a state of nervous suspense. Would he eat today? Would he drink? Would he keep the food down? When he refused, would subcutaneous fluids at the vet’s revive him or was this the final refusal that meant it was time to die?

When I spoke in a happy voice and leaned over, hands on thighs in imitation of a play-bow, she waved her tail gently. I dashed around to the other side of the room. She stood there. Normally, the best way to get a dog to come to you is to playfully run the other way. You can run in a circle in my house from living room, to hall, to kitchen, dining room and back. In the middle of the circle are the fireplace, part of the kitchen and the guest bathroom.

Darwin grabbed a toy and shook it. He trotted a few steps and looked back, inviting me to follow. I ran up and tagged him. He ran off around our indoor track with me in pursuit, as we had done in the much larger house where he had spent the first few years of life. Sometimes I turned and ran the other way, grabbing the toy and throwing it ahead of me for him to chase. Sometimes Keeper joined in, leaping like a deer but getting in my way instead of chasing. She reminded me of the younger sibling who tries to do what the older ones are doing but can never quite figure it out.

I ran a circuit by myself, patting my leg, calling, “C’mon, Alanis, let’s go,” my voice pitched high and light to entice her into the game. She did not speak this language. I stroked her head. This part, she understood.

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