The Family Dog

By Tod Minotti

PROMPT—I am grateful for ...

The dog died today. Lulu. Lulu, Foo Foo, Foofie, Doofie. My dog. Our Dog. Our pet. I love her. I always will. She was the best dog a man or a family could ever have. She was wonderful. I love her.


Last night, she was having trouble breathing. Thought she’d caught COVID from all of us. CDC said dogs could get it. CDC said it wasn’t lethal in dogs, so we waited until this morning. She was really laboring. We took her to the ER around 10:30am. I had to carry her down the stairs and into Angel Memorial. She was so lethargic. They took a look at her. The first nurse said, a little harshly, dogs don’t get COVID. So they took her back for tests. The vet came out and told us she had fluid in her abdomen, internal bleeding. Probably a tumor on her spleen that burst.


Huh? I thought.


"If we operate now, we can take out her spleen. Dogs can live without spleens. That should give her another, 6-9 months. 2/3rds of the time, it’s that. Or, it could be a tumor that ruptured in her lungs. And then it’s 1-3 months, with chemo."


Huh?


She saw we were moving into shock.


"I can look at her spleen, but the instrument we have on the weekends isn’t very precise, so we have to do surgery. Today. We can do an x-ray on her chest. If that shows…"


So, wait, I said, can you look at her chest, in the x-ray (tears start to build), and see…because…what if we have to euthanize her so she doesn’t suffer? Can you do the x-ray?


"Yes. I’ll do that."


A minute, an hour, a day, a lifetime, all pass together. The vet comes back. Tears in her eyes.


"The x-ray showed fluid around her heart. We can't operate today. She wouldn’t survive the anesthesia."


I can only recommend that "we" …voice cracks… "perform a humane euthanasia…"


And just like that, Lulu is going to die.


My wife and I stayed with her. We held her to the end. And she died. In our hands, with all our love. And now she’s gone and I miss her and I love her and I will always cry for her and love her and miss her and pet her in my heart and hold her, hold her, hold her.


My dog. Our dog. The family dog.


 

Tod Minotti is the husband of Jen Minotti, the brave, exceptional, lovely soul who started this journal. He’s been writing as a hobby for thirty some odd years and has never had anything published, until now. You’ll find him walking the streets with his wife, watching a game with his son or giving his daughter a ride to somewhere.