And as Riley and I return from our morning stroll around Como Lake, I do mental calculations in my head: I need to shower, I need to eat, I need to carry Boscoe out for one last....ah, no, I don't.
But mostly we are doing just fine. Whatever GI tract problems Riley was having seem to be gone; when he goes to that problematic area of the yard where there may or may not be poisonous disgusting dead stuff, we just whistle him into the house.
He has emerged from under tables and behind chairs and is hanging around us more. He lets us pet him again. He has lost that confused and hunted look.
And us--well, yes, we miss Boscoe, very much, but we also are feeling much less stress. That last week of trying to decide, Is it time? How do we do this? And when? has been relieved. I think the weeks up to a dog's death are probably harder than the death itself.
Callous though that may sound.
This morning, Riley and I walked around the lake and saw a coyote hanging out in the middle of the ice. This was, of course, Riley's second walk of the day, and also his second coyote-sighting. He and Doug had walked in the dark of 5:30 a.m. and watched the coyote trot out from a yard and down to the lake.
He was still there at 7, kind of hanging around the hole where people ice-fish, perhaps hoping for some fish guts. We kept him in our sights as we circumnavigated the lake, watching him trot here and there, sit quietly, even curl in a ball for a bit. I thought he was going to take a nap, but as the sun rose and the rays reached the lake, he stood up again and began making his way toward shore.
We miss Boscoe, we are sad, but the world remains a beautiful and fascinating place.