I could see that there was a problem when she put on the brakes, her front legs stretched out in front of her, looking like a horse approaching the cliff in a Loony Tunes cartoon trying to stop. She doesn’t hesitate to go outside like that unless it’s raining, because she hates the rain. And so I had to intervene, either my wife was going to drag her outside or she was going to stay in and I opted for staying in, giving her a little more time or just waiting until tomorrow. Thankfully, my wife agreed. Neither of us understood why, at 19:12 pm she didn’t want to go outside, but we did know that we’d deal with the mess if there was any. I took the leash out of my wife’s hands and just let it drape over her neck and she was fine.
That was when she let a turd fall behind her on the floor. Of course that made Nik laugh, what’s funnier than a turd? Then she lay down with us all around her trying to relax her and ask what was wrong when another couple of small turds exited; again, for me to clean up amid the laughter. But the laughter stopped when she rolled over, heart no longer beating, and her bladder emptied out on to the floor. Not a little bit, not a stream, just like a bag that has been punctured and set down to slowly just empty itself with the help of gravity. It was done. She was gone. 19:15, Saturday evening, All Saints Day or “Dušičkami” here in Bohemia, a “Day of Spirits” or a day of remembering the dead.
But what now? We had agreed ahead of time, knowing full well that this day was coming, with one our in-laws that we’d bring her to the farm and bury her out back with all the other pets that had been lost to their family (and no, it’s not legal, but who pays attention to the law anyway, I mean, really?); now it was our turn. They agreed, and by 21:30, in the dark, with nothing but a pickax, two shovels, a small flashlight and a small forehead light strapped on, we started digging.
Somewhere around midnight she was lain to rest in her not so small grave, lowered in on her queen-sized red blanket, covered in lye and buried.
We had to lay a small grate on top to keep the chickens from scratching away at her.
And there she lays, and will lay, for us to visit every time we go out there for the weekend to help pick apples or peaches, to make straw or dry grass for the sheep or rabbits, slaughter a pig on someone’s 50th birthday, or just to carry a 500lb water heater out of the basement.