The Last Breath

The hardest part was feeling his soft breath on my arm as I held him, knowing that in just a few minutes his breath would be no more.  Lying in my arms, cradled in a blue and white flannel blanket, he was calm and relaxed, free from the illness that ravaged him and made his body so fragile and deformed.

Brinkley was 15. He’d had a good run, though his last few years were tough. He developed Addison’s disease and had many bouts of illness where, as my vet said, we did not think he’s be going home with you. He always came home. Like a cat with 9 lives, only there weren’t that many for Brinkley.

Brinkley always rallied. He was on long-term prednisone, which kept him going and comfortable, except when it didn’t. He was also blind and deaf. He negotiated where he was going by swinging his head back and forth to catch tell-tale odors that guided him. We had to be ever-so-careful to keep him from falling, but despite our efforts, he had several rendezvous apiece with the water bowl and the window well. Towards the end we had to carry him in and out to go potty. Even closer to the end, he couldn’t poop at all.

It was time. He told me so. He told me so when he turned his nose away from his food bowl, when he had no interest in cuddling, and when it was obvious to me that he didn’t know where he was anymore. It was time for that dreaded drive when he wouldn’t come home.

I will forever cherish the memory of my Brinkley’s final breaths on my arm.