His condition worsened quickly. He started to stagger a bit. He did try to eat, but it all came back up. He needed me to hold his head up to sleep Sunday night, and in the morning he wasn't able to hold water down.
We took him in late Monday morning. He had always been a dog that preferred being outside, and he showed interest in the world outside the car windows, so I held him up so he could see. At the clinic he was happy to see some other dogs. And when I let him out of the car he wanted to walk around and sniff. It was a sunny day, and he had been stuck inside for weeks by the cold except when he had to go out. Walking in the sunshine invigorated him for a little while, he enjoyed it while his energy lasted. Then we went inside.
The only regret that I have about the only other dog that I had adopted and had a close relationship with, was that I did not stay with her through the end. This was many many years ago, I was just a teenager. And, when given a choice by the veterinarian, I opted to wait in another room. Yet, I took her body home to bury.
That was one of the points when I became aware of our strange contemporary relationship with death. One of the experiences that lead to years of consideration and study of thanatology. Those years lead to a very Gnostic view, before I discovered Gnosticism and recognized it as my path.
This week, I did the opposite of those many years ago. I stayed with him through the end, then when he was gone, there was an outworn form.
It is still very difficult. I walk several times a day past the door where I let him in and out, or would go out to play, or just peek out the window to check on him. When I am thinking about something else, the thought often intrudes to check on him, or let him in. We grow together when we live together. We become family, regardless of species. I did not call him my dog or my pet, I called him my buddy. And though we did not chose each other to begin with, we chose each other over time, and that is the meaning of family.