Monday, March 27, 2006

Hank The Lab, 4/23/99 - 3/27/06, RIP

All I want is that you throw this yellow tennis ball for me to fetch. I'm not asking to be silken again, not shiny, not clear-eyed, not asking for all those years you thought I'd have. I'm not asking these cancerous lumps to go away. Just throw the ball, damnit.

Remember the fun? The sun! So yellow and hot and the running. The running! And all the smell codes written in all the trees and the grass! Remember the food! Steak, shrimp, sausages, even a whole birthday cake once when I was a puppy, when I looked like a tiny velvet toy, if tiny velvet toys steal whole birthday cakes and gobble them up. Remember? Remember the other dogs! Catch-me-if-you-can I played with them and hahaha they could not! Could not catch me, me the nimble, me the quick, me with the biggest loving heart in all the dog world. And the biggest tongue, too, large enough to lick Canada in one go. And love bigger than Canada and so trusting, so kind. That was what I was, once. I was in your pack, and in the pack of my best dog, and I did good, didn't I? I loved as I was supposed to.

Then came the needles and the tubes and the pain and the suffering. Why? I asked but nobody answered and so I did what I had to: I fought it, fought to be in the pack, fought to run, fought to love. And I still wanted to fetch the yellow tennis ball, once, twice, ten times, a thousand times, to fetch it until it was not yellow but brown, not round but lumpy, chewed to shreds, wanted to leave your life torn with dog-shaped holes of sorrow every time you see a yellow tennis ball. Because I was worth it, damnit.

Just throw the ball for me one more time. But not too far. Just one more time.