Kasey died unexpectedly this week, on a terrible Tuesday. I was at work, 30 minutes away, and there was no way to get home fast enough to say goodbye; he was gone 10 minutes after letting out a pained yelping whimper. I rushed home anyway to be beside my husband who was coping with the sudden shock of losing a pet in the midst of the chaos of caring for a parent with dementia. Kasey was lying so still in the living room, at peace but clearly no longer present. I stroked his fur and massaged his paws and ears. We struggled through the indignity of hefting him, in a sheet, out to the car, laying him gently in the back of the SUV. I made my way to the vet clinic; it was a brutally hot day but before I signed the papers and set the efficient wheels in motion for cremation, I lingered at the back of the truck as long as I could, whispering my thanks and love to this very good boy who shared 12 wonderful years with us. As I stroked his ears and paws I could already feel the coolness of a body in death. I pulled myself away, signed some forms and watched the techs gently place him on a guerney and wheel him away. He was a very good boy, and he shall not be forgotten.
The day came on like spring, too warm for coats, but skipped over summer. By rush hour we were well into fierce autumn skies and the kind of torrential rain that whips the last of the leaves off the trees, except that the leaves have been off for months now. By the time the dog and I made a last trip outside, winter had shown up in full force. The sky sparkled with stars and the temperature plummeted down, down, down. We headed inside and off to bed to listen to the shutters rattle and the wind howl around the corner of the house.
The dog and I set out on our evening walk to the rhythm of a thousand cicadas. To the west, the sun was dropping below the tree line.