My parents' dog Jack was euthanised this afternoon. We had had him for 13 years. My dad was really sad and my mum, stoic as ever, called to tell me that the vet's visit had not gone well and that he had been given the needle. 'You mean, already?' I asked, stunned that it would be done so quickly.
When I arrived at their place, Jack was rolled up in a blanket on the couch. He looked peaceful, as if he was just lying there still alive. His right eye was open. I sat with him, patting him for a while, and said goodbye. I thought of all the great walks we had taken when I was living with mum and dad for a while back in 2011. Jack was wonderful company to me during a really difficult time. On our long walks I discovered a love for photographing the suburb in which I grew up; the houses, trees, parks, and of course, lots of photographs of Jack.
Dad and I dug a shallow grave in the front yard. The ground felt rock solid. 'We haven't had any rain for ages', Alan said, as he shovelled out the dirt I had just struck loose. Mum came out to see and Putin, our small black cat, also came to enquire about what was happening. I'm not sure if he knew or not, but he sat there at a short distance, watching from under the apparent protection of a small tree.
After we had placed Jack in his grave, we covered him with dirt and tanbark.
I decided to go for a walk up the hill, where I used to take Jack most mornings and afternoons. I would sit up there on a small outcrop of rocks, Jack on my lap, and we would watch the sun set over the Brindabella Mountains. He just used to sit there with me and look out at the landscape. When he was ready to go he would start barking and urge me to follow.
Mum said that he was very calm when he vet approached to shave his paw. When the needle went in he didn't even flinch. It seemed that he was in a lot of pain and that anything was better than being as he was.
I should have taken him on more walks recently.