After a long, grim winter that refused to quit, it’s finally spring. Robin’s egg blue sky, fluffy clouds, a gorgeous breeze, and all the birdsong you could hope for on such a perfect day. I sit out on my back porch and watch the leaves dancing in that soft breeze with an even softer Husky by my feet. Hento lifts his snoot and gently sniffs what the wind brings to him, radiating contentment. We’ve done this, almost exactly this, many times together; it’s one of his favorite ways to spend a fine afternoon.
It’s impossible to believe that right now, in this perfect spring moment, my dog is dying.
He doesn’t even look sick. A little tired maybe, but he has always taken things at a slower pace than most other dogs. Shortly after my thyroid crisis in 2020, he was diagnosed with hypothyroidism too, which had explained a lot about why he wasn’t the ball of energy and mischief that people always expect from a Husky. That could be why it took us a while to notice the first signs when the lymphoma hit him.
I don’t know. I don’t know. My vision blurs as I look down at my sweet Hento by my feet and I just don’t know. Could we have bought him more time if we’d caught it sooner? Were there any signs he would have let us see? For the four years he’s lived with us, Hento has always remained something of an enigma, past trauma turning him inward to guard his feelings. I get it, but I’ve always wished he would let me in, now more than ever.
But even if he had, would I have noticed? Jon and I have been wrapped up in our stupid human bullshit all year as we’ve handled the passing of his father in February and the resulting estate chaos. We keep saying we’ll take Hento someplace nice for a long weekend when we’re done managing the estate.
We keep apologizing to him for the time we have to spend away from home, cleaning out the old house to sell. It’s a crumbling disaster and the toll the work takes on us is as brutal emotionally as it is physically. We come home drained, to a dog who doesn’t even seem to miss us because he’s so angry at us for being gone. Another emotional blow.
When this is over, we promise him. We’ll take you someplace nice and relax together when this is over.
Except there is no together now when it’s over. He is leaving us and there isn’t enough time to say goodbye. He doesn’t even look sick, not today, but it won’t be long they say. They say they can’t believe he walked into the hospital on his own, as sick a boy as he is. They say we can try treatment, but it’s a matter of buying him days, weeks, months at the optimistic most, and we need to think about whether he needs that or whether we’re being selfish. They say a lot of things I don’t really hear because there’s just a deafening roar inside my head.
My dog is dying. He can’t be dying. We didn’t have enough time. We just wanted more time.
It’s ten days later and another picturesque April afternoon. My dog is dying, dying, dead. We didn’t have enough time.
How can the sky be so blue while my heart shatters inside my chest? The universe doesn’t care that he saved my life and it was my turn to save his. Entropy is pitiless and absolute. Hento was alive, and soft, and sweet, and kind, and now he’s gone.
He’s gone and it’s a beautiful day and we didn’t have enough time.