It’s half past one and I’m sitting here in a house that’s grown chilly, drinking port as it’s the only thing in the cupboard in Detox Month, and waiting for my dog to die. She’s calm but her breathing is fairly laboured; I don’t think she has long to go – maybe a few hours, maybe less. She’s fighting it a little. Periodically raises her head, panic in her eyes, and I have to soothe her into lying back down, try to get her to close those eyes, to sleep, to sleep, sleep…
For a surreal moment I’m struck by the memory of easing my children as toddlers back into sleep after a nightmare. That patient stroking of foreheads, the calm, repetitive whisper, it’s okay, it’s okay. Yet this sleep – as Daisy clearly knows from the reluctance to shut her eyes – will be an eternal one.
Dogs can’t be fooled as easily as children – words mean nothing, it’s body language that counts. Why else would I be sitting on a cold floor at 1.30 in the morning, stroking her head, if it wasn’t Serious…? Yeah, she’s not fooled.
So I go outside for a smoke when she’s calm again. Maybe she’ll better fall asleep without me. The sky is lit by a full moon and a bird’s singing its dawn chorus. Weird. I’d always thought they had internal body clocks – something that measured time in a similar way to our days, hours and minutes. But this bird’s obviously going on sky brightness – it does look like dawn – and is chirruping merrily… though no other is answering.
It’s 2am, Daisy has gone, and the bird’s stopped singing.