Jake started getting cataracts about three years ago. He showed signs of deteriorating hearing a couple of years ago. He stopped walking normal about a year ago. He’s been getting older a little at a time, rapidly declining since Moo wandered off into the night. He stopped eating his hard food a few months ago, his wet last month, and almost anything a week or two ago. So far, he hasn’t stopped loving us.

Right now, he spends his days with us shifting him from one side to the other. When we aren’t expressing his bladder, he is on a pee pad. We boil chicken and rice, and he’ll usually eat that with some encouragement. He will stir when he wants water, and if we aren’t right there, his soft barks will let us know. He is in decline, and this is the time where he can still slip away peacefully.

Being home sick with COVID, all I can do is cuddle with him as his little body wastes away before my eyes. I know by the time I am well, he will be gone. It makes me not want to get well. I can’t be there for him, and pushing his date back wouldn’t be for him. It would be for me. None of this can be for me. I already feel guilty enough.

Today, I went to lay with him in my hammock, and the canvas frayed and tore. What a metaphor!

In my work, I think a lot about mortality and death. The only bright side of any of this is that it will fill my inkwell with the experience to touch other people, if they even care. But again, that makes this about me, and I only want to make sure this is what’s right for my little boy. Still, my mental health is fraying and tearing, and I will need to put in work to patch that up at some point. Probably by writing.

I hope we are doing the right thing. We can’t even decide what to do with his body yet. I have always simply dug a hole, but Stella can’t bear that. He hated so much being left alone outside. The reason he loves us so is because we let him inside to be with us and we tried to take him everywhere. How could we do that to him?

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