When the Dog Gets Ready to Die by Randal Eldon Greene
When the dog gets ready to die she’ll vomit up liquid the color of her kibble. Then she’ll vomit up yellow. Then clear. Then do nothing but dry-heave.
When the dog gets ready to die it’ll be a late winter night. There’ll be no veterinary clinics open. No vet will answer their phone. You’ll call the 24-hour nurse hotline because you won’t know what else to do. They won’t know what to do. But they’ll be sympathetic, and they’ll say, Watch her. You’re already going to be watching her on that late and snowy winter night.
When the dog gets ready to die she’ll eventually start whining at the door, and you’ll put her on her chain, and you’ll wait for her to want back in. You’ll sit there and wait for her to scratch at the door. She won’t scratch. And you’ll get worried, and you’ll open the door and call for her to come in. She won’t come. It’ll be a late, dark, snowy winter night.
When the dog gets ready to die she’ll go to the end of her chain. She’ll look at you, and you’ll call her. She’ll be out there in the snow and in the dark, and her eyes will reflect the light coming through the doorway, but there she’ll sit, ears and tail both tucked down. You may call just like you’ve called her a hundred thousand times before, but this time, when you want her the most, she won’t come at all.
When the dog gets ready to die it’ll be late and snowy and the darkest winter night you can remember, and she’ll go to the end of her chain, and she won’t come back in because she can’t get far enough away from you.
Randal Eldon Greene is the author of Descriptions of Heaven (Harvard Square Editions, 2016), a novella. His short fiction has appeared in Unbroken Journal, NPR online, and elsewhere. Greene is a volunteer judge of fiction for Heart & Mind Zine. His typos are tweeted @AuthorGreene and his website is found at AuthorGreene.com