“Daddy’s home,” Paul said. He watched the car in the driveway, but Daddy didn’t get out. Paul started for the door and his mother stopped him. “Daddy will come in in a minute.”
Matthew wondered how to get out of the car and go inside the house. What would he say to Paul? Paul was only five. How could he understand what his father had just done? Will he hate me for this?
He glanced in the back seat and gulped tears. Beany’s collar and leash were there but Beany wasn’t. Beany would never be there again. If I can’t handle this how can I expect Paul to?
He was remembering Beany all those years, the clumsy puppy who was so much fun and so loving, his golden fur and his knowing eyes. Beany was there when they brought Paul home and instantly assumed his role of protector and care giver for the new baby. Beany who had been there through the years being Paul’s playmate and friend, his pillow by the fire.
Of late the life had drained from Beany. He wasted away, and everything seemed to cause him pain. How could Beany have got so old all of a sudden while I’m still young, while Paul is still little?
Matthew watched as Beany cried a little with the pain as he got up from sleep. The vet told them that Beany was very old. His fourteen years were like a hundred to a man. There was nothing to be done as the arthritis stiffened his hind quarters and slowed his bounding gait to a painful walk. The beautiful deep brown eyes were cataract clouded. His golden coat dulled and thinned and ribs showed through. It was time.
They gave him his favorite food that morning but he could hardly touch it. The clouded eyes looked up, as though beseeching Matt to do something. Yes, I’m going to do something.
One last time he clipped Beany’s leash to his collar. He had to help Beany into the car and the dog whistled through his nose from the pain of it. In just a little while you won’t hurt any more. Matt began the journey he had been dreading.
It was over too fast. And now he was back home with Beany’s leash and collar lying where he had tossed them, on the back seat of the car.
He sat in the car thinking, now I have to try to make Paul understand. What can I say to him? I have to get hold of myself. I can’t be crying when I face Paul!
He got out of the car at last and went up the steps, leash and collar in hand.
Paul met him at the door. “Where is Beany?” he asked as his father hung the leash by the door from years of habit.
“Beany couldn’t come home this time,” Matt said.
“Did you leave him for the vet to make him better?”
“Not this time.”
Paul’s eyes went wide. “Isn’t he coming back?”
Matt shook his head and went to his knees by the child. The man and the little boy wept together.
© Copyright 2009 Doremi (UN: nicegrandma777 at Writing.Com).
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