Warning: This post concerns grief, death, and the feelings inspired thereby. If you are sensitive to such subjects, I recommend reading something more cheerful.
I don't remember his name. He was an old chocolate lab rather large, about 103 pounds, came in with two owners, one male and one female. The female already had a dog with us, and American bulldog named Zola (she got spayed earlier today). The old chocolate lab was having trouble breathing, because he had a paralysis of the throat, I can't remember the exact name of the condition. This is essentially made it hard for him to draw breath in and thus made it difficult for him to pant; it was very hot today and we think that he was overheating and that was killing him from the inside. The owners brought him in frothing at the mouth not able to walk very well, very labored breathing. The euthanization was very quick and clean, he laid down his head and his breathing slowed, and then stopped. A couple seconds later, his heart stopped also. Today I held Death in my hands. Death is not an event. Not a concept. Not a problem. It is a burden. A stinging in the eyes. The silence after breathing has stopped. Tightness in the throat as you rage, plead, command one more breath. One more moment. Death is the ache in my fingers as I carry him out, wrapped in a blue fuzzy blanket. Death is the knowledge that rigor mortis sets in quickly, and we must bundle the body tightly to make him easier to bury. Death had chocolate fur and sad brown eyes. I cried with Death's owner when he left us. Death is relief and release. Death is the knowledge that pain and discomfort and frustration will not plague him anymore. Death is blue liquid in a large syringe. He was my first death. 103 pounds. 13 years old. Camouflage collar. I will not forget him.