Losing Oslo.

Oslo, trying to stay cool on the floor in front of the fan after I returned from Montréal, after trying to get up to say hi to me, his tail feebly wagging. He could not without Will’s help. Light filtered from the West across the Olympics and over the Salish Sea, spilling into our front room and onto our beautiful boy. Seattle, WA. August 4, 2017, 7:00 p.m.

Seattle, Washington. Wednesday, August 2, 2017. 10:52 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time.

Dearest Callie,

I am sitting on the couch across from Olso, who is in his big chair. Mies is next to me and Friedrich is on the rug doing all he can to tear open his squeaky toy. I am exhausted from a day of care-giving. It was warm today, but there was so much smoke that KUOW reported the temperature actually dropped in the afternoon because of it drifting in from the BC fires, blocking some of the sun’s incoming heat. I went for a bike ride, but I honestly could not feel the effects of the smoke. I could certainly see it.

Sadly, Oslo seems to be fading. I am sorry to tell you this while you are on vacation, but I think you should know. The only food he would eat today were some of those training treats you bought for Friedrich. He had two big accidents today. One was while I was here and he just got out of his chair, walked toward me and suddenly squatted to poop next to the yellow table. It all came gushing out. Later, while I was out on my bike, he had an accident in the kitchen. All of this in spite of the fact I have been helping him outside all day. I am feeling a little helpless right now. I cannot give him his meds without him eating something, let alone eating the bit of food in which I hide his pills. So his stomach must be really bugging him.

I am making sure he stays hydrated. I bring the water bowl to him to see if he wants some and have been slowly squirting Pedialyte into his mouth. I have the AC unit running (with two fans) and it helps keep the house at about 77º F at the hottest part of the day.

Today I gave him a bath. Perhaps for the last time. It made me so sad. Touching his body and knowing how it once was. But he is still so beautiful to me.

After the bath I put a blanket on the porch and let him dry off in the sun for a little while. I think it made him feel a little better.

I am sorry. I am trying to do all I can to keep him going and make sure he is comfortable until you get back. But I sense he is growing weary. I will take them all to the park tomorrow evening to play. But as I watch him, I feel like he could leave us tonight. Or maybe he can keep going a few more days.

I just want to know what you would prefer that I do should he pass before you return. I was going to call the hospice folks and clarify their procedures both for a pet that passes and one that is to be euthanized. I know we agree that his body will be cremated.

I feel bad throwing all of this at you, but I think it’s best that we acknowledge where we are at this point.

Let me know your thoughts.

— — love, Will

Montréal, Quebec. Thursday, August 3, 2017. 6:02 a.m., Eastern Daylight Time.

Dear Will,

I am reclined on a white bed in a white room in a brick Airbnb in Montréal’s Petite Italie, my head against gray pillows, with no dogs in any chairs near me, feeling guilty and terrible that I took this trip. But, when I booked this flight in April, Oslo was whole, showing no signs that in a mere four months, he would be visibly dying, a wisp of his majestic, magnificent self.

But still, why did I leave? I shouldn’t have left.

I read your email at 6:00 a.m. Québécois time, then immediately called Expedia to see if I could catch the next flight out of Montréal, back to Seattle. Back to you. Back to Oslo. The soonest I can leave today is at 4:00 p.m., requiring a twisted return route through Toronto, then L.A., finally arriving in Seattle at 2:30 a.m., only 12 hours earlier than my current itinerary has me arriving. Should I do this? Can he wait that long? The travel agent, by the way, classified my change request as a “family emergency”. Vindication.

Of course, I don’t want to put him down. But I realize we must, and likely, very soon. Sacrificing his dignity for my reticence to let go is not something I’m willing to do. A week too early is better than a week too late. But I want to hug him alive one last time and I don’t want you to do it alone. If you could breathe life into him for one more day and schedule the vet (if you feel that Oslo is telling us it’s time), I will spend this last day in Canada with a laden, yet grateful, heart.

Love, Me

Edmonton, Alberta and Seattle, Washington. Friday, August 4, 2017. Text exchanges between 11:50 a.m. and 12:20 p.m., Mountain Daylight Time.

Callie Our flight is delayed due to the smoke in Seattle. We’re in Edmonton right now.

Will That sucks. Sorry. Oslo had a rough night, but he actually ate a little food this morning. Another hot day, so I am pushing the Pedialyte.

Callie We are still sitting here. They call us up to say we’re boarding, then change their minds. I just want to go home. I hate flying, especially the parts that don’t involve flying at all. I just want to get home to be with Oslo.

Will I know he misses you.

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