I took Broccoli to the vet for a check-up. My old dog happily obliges. He loves the vet. Not because he is a hypochondriac. He loves everyone. His blood work came back. The vet wants to run a few more tests. Something is not right. I am skilled at detecting energy and tones. My knees go weak. A lump instantly forms in my throat.
Broccoli is huge and I have to lift him into my car because his hips hurt. Fortunately, I workout now so this is not hard for me to do. It is still gross when his lipstick slurps across my hand. I shoot him a look that says, “Really Dude?” And he says, “Sorry ‘bout dat Mum” with his goofy smile. I just roll my eyes at him. I am covered with dog hair. I never learn to stop wearing black.
He is 14 years old now. 98 in human years. I have only had him for two and a half years. I want more time. Sometimes I lie down on the floor with him when my anxiety is crippling. He instantly and magically soothes my racing brain. I feel peace. I am grateful to him. There is one spot on his head that still smells like puppy. I inhale it and imagine what it would be like to have known him then. I want to somehow bottle his scent so I can keep it forever.
I feed him the best food. Give him supplements. Make him as comfortable as possible. I never forget to tell him, “I love you.” Everyone is always petting him. He has finished everything on the ‘bucket list’ we made for him. Now he is tired. He has had a couple accidents in the house and he is ashamed. We simply clean it up and tell him how good he is. He now lets crotches walk by without sniffing them.
I let him wander around the yard in the evening, when it is cooler. He pees on my flowers. Normally, this would annoy me, but I know he won’t be here next year. My daughter reads to him for hours. I tie on a fresh bandana each day. He likes the one with flames the best.
He is not allowed to go on walks now. He can overheat too easily. He doesn’t try to hump the air anymore when he becomes excited. Nor does he greet me when I walk in the door. He just lays there and smiles. His tail thumping against the ground. He is covered with fat lumps. One looks like a giant breast implant on his side. I think he is the most beautiful dog in the entire world. I treasure the paintings Mike’s aunt made of him.
He doesn’t sleep next to me anymore. Climbing the stairs hurts him. I am not awakened by the smell of his farts. I never thought I would miss this. I was wrong. He used to love taking showers with me. I am not a creepy mom. Calm down. I always wore a swimsuit. Now I wipe him down with a warm washcloth. He likes this better.
He still gets up to intervene when the kids are wrestling or voices are raised. He gently rests his head on a lap or puts his massive body in between them. He doesn’t like this. We make a point not to get too rowdy. We don’t fight often here. We rarely yell. We never hit. He is grateful. He is sensitive and intuitive. I am too. I understand.
The pit in my stomach tells me his earthly work is coming to an end. I feel helpless and scared. The vet said, “Unfortunately, he is just so happy, he is the kind of dog who will never tell you it’s time.” I want to cover my ears. I don’t want him to go. I don’t want him to cross a stupid Rainbow Bridge. I want him to stay here. I secretly plead with God not to whistle for him to, “Come!” I know he will obey God. He is just that good. He is better than humans.
I decide to relish in every moment I still have him here. I want to learn more from him. I don’t have phantom balls to lick. So this lesson is unnecessary. He is so wise. I think he is smarter than me. I want to know how he found enlightenment. Was it a destination or is it a choice he makes each day?
He is pure. He doesn’t judge me. He doesn’t judge anyone. He lives in the moment. He is not afraid of living or dying. He knows he is happy. He knows he is safe. He doesn’t care about money or looks or trivial matters. He forgives his past. He knows how utterly adored he is. He will leave this earth as a revered king and the greatest of teachers. He is the truest example of love I have ever known.