The Harlan Chronicles 9


Harlan's End
Harlan slept a lot. He was too weak to walk very far and spent many hours in his bed. Frequently, before sunset Mr. Something would carry him to the car, drive him to the park, then carry him out to a quiet, grassy area where he could just ‘be’.

On one hand, it was really comforting to be able to have Harlan’s head rest on my lap while we hung out at the park in the sunset but on the other hand, I knew he couldn’t resist even if he wanted to.
We would stay until the sun went down and then carry Harlan back to the car again and go home.

Over the course of a few months, the medicines that Harlan was on did not seem to be working as well. His health was declining and he was becoming sleepier and weaker.

As I was not experienced in ‘end of life’ issues for dogs, Harlan and I returned to the animal clinic. I had a few questions…”Is he suffering?”

The vet’s answer would determine as to whether or not I would “put him down”. She didn’t think Harlan was in any distress, “just weak”. "Was Harlan was still eating, drinking and going potty?” He was. Seemingly pleased with my response, she said, “when any of those factors change, Harlan should be reassessed”.

My next question was the most difficult. “What do I do when he dies?” She understood my question and assured me that I could have Animal Control pick him up from my house where he would be brought to a group animal crematorium or I could bring Harlan to the clinic where they would take care of him personally and I would receive his ashes a few weeks later.

I just couldn’t allow myself to consider the Animal Control option. Harlan had become too precious.

It was a beautiful, sunny autumn morning. Mr. Something had come home from the Fire Station and gave Harlan a pork chop. After eating, Harlan walked into the family room and lay down on the floor.

He was gone.

What a life. What a dog.

But, my life with Harlan was not quite over...

Part 10  Harlan's Finale

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