The old dog is dying, it’s hard to say if he knows.
He lies on the floor, in front of the glass door in the outbuilding where I work, too spent to climb up onto the leather chair where for 10 years or so he has drowsed while I peck away at the keys. It’s raining outside and a deer walks past, not 20 feet away, and the dog lifts his eyebrows, enough to cause his forehead to wrinkle into furrows, and then drops his chin back onto his paws and goes back to wherever he was. It’s strange to imagine, but inside him there is a storm.
The speed of it seems impossible. Three weeks ago—a day or two more now—he wakes me up in the night, panting. We head into the kitchen, and I offer him some fresh water. He turns it down and stands by the door, and after I let him out he drinks rainwater from Mrs. Dexter’s flowerpots. Then he lies down on the porch for half an hour, cooling off, and I sit by the door, reading, and at 2:30 or so he comes back in.