On Dogs and Cats, and Unfortunately, Death

“‘It’s dreadful, isn’t it?'” “‘What? Death?'” “Yes. It makes everything else seem so horribly trivial. He doesn’t look human. When you look at him you can hardly persuade yourself that he’s ever been alive. It’s hard to think that not so very many years ago he was just a little boy tearing down the hill and flying a kite.'” (Somerset Maugham, The Painted Veil.) I just walked over to open my window as it was getting hot in my living room. I was all ready to start working; I had my coffee ready, a handful of stolen mini eggs from my kids’ Easter baskets had just been eaten, and all that was left was to let in some fresh air to counteract the effects of blind-less south-facing windows. And then I stopped. My dogs were sitting, or lying, in the sun, right outside the window. It was strange because they never sit outside that particular window. And so I looked again, closer this time. There was something else lying at their feet. Something black and fuzzy and – Oh My God!! It was a cat. Asleep….no, no, no, no. Shit. Not a sleeping cat. There was a ratty looking, but formerly fuzzy-looking, dead cat lying at my dog’s feet. It was black, just like them. Well, it still is black. It’s weird. I want to speak of it in the past tense because it is in the past tense, now. […]

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