I took the kids and dogs out to the field behind the neighboring apartments. Gunnar occupied himself with killing ants while Gavin walked our pit bull Thor, before settling onto the ground with some sticks. I ran Magnus, the German Shepherd, and threw a stick for him to chase before calling him back to my side.
I didn’t want to rush the time with my usual nervous energy. The boys were content and so were the dogs. My mind was occupied with Thor, knowing he is not long for this world. He tires easily, but with pitbull stubborness drags along, smiling with his tongue out like only a pit can do.
I know he is carrying the weight of the fatty tumors that have overtaken him, the largest causing his stomach to bulge, along with more and more frequent vomiting. He is skipping meals. For the first time yesterday, the pain made him aggressive when disturbed or touched by the kids. Nothing too serious, just warning growls that said, “Stay away!” as he lay there, uncomfortable.
Now pain medications are daily.
He hardly took his eyes off of me, following me around. When I would sit he would walk over, push first his head, then his side against me, then flop over on his back and writhe while I scratched his chest, his mouth open like a crocodile.
He was happy, and so were the boys, sweating in the hot sun.
I savored the moment, burning the images into my memory, a joy and sadness behind my eyes.
How do you say goodbye to a loyal friend?
How do you prepare your sons?
As we were walking back to the apartment, Gunnar holding my hand as I walked Magnus and Gavin Thor, I looked over at Gavin.
“Treasure these times with Thor.” I said.
Iggy Pop-Machine for Loving