Thank you Dr. Duncan.

Ginny: 04-19-2002 to 01-18-2013

One year ago this morning, I was lying on a thick brown-suede-covered mattress on the floor of the bereavement room at the animal hospital, beside Ginny. There was soft lighting, a loveseat, a vase of flowers, piped-in music, cool air circulating. Ginny was nearly comatose, wearing her scarlet red sweater, covered with her blue plaid blanket. I squirmed as close to her as I could get and pressed the tip of my nose up against hers. I tried to stare into her eyes, but my vision was blurred, so I just concentrated on breathing in each time she breathed out.

Somewhere outside my awareness, I heard Dr. Duncan shaving a spot on Ginny’s back leg, baring it to accept the needle. Ginny breathed out, I breathed in. I hugged her and felt the softness of her fur, felt a boulder lying inside my chest.

Ginny breathed out and I breathed in. I was determined to take within me every breath she gave. I didn’t say a word because, as had been the case for nearly 11 years, Ginny and I could talk without words. She breathed out. I breathed in. And then, Ginny gave three short staccato breaths and I drew them in all in once in a long, desperate gasp -- then I shut the figurative door so that they could never escape. I stroked her long beautiful ear one last time, kissed her on the forehead, rose, turned my back and left the room.

I wouldn’t change one thing about those last 10 minutes, unless it was to back-peddle to a time where those minutes would not be necessary.

My recommendation is that today, while lying with your pup on the bed, snuggling on the sofa, wrestling on the floor, you try putting your nose against his or hers and breathe in. Breathe in.