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My dog died in the middle of the night in my bed. The worst part of having a dog is knowing you'll outlast them.

Woman and dog
The author's dog died in the middle of the night in her bed.Courtesy of the author
  • My dog died in my bed in the middle of the night.

  • I woke up without knowing what to do with my dog, while also grieving.

  • I saw my dog everywhere in my apartment after he was gone.

"What do you do with a dead dog in your bed at 7 a.m.?"

It was a question even Siri couldn't answer. "I'm afraid I don't know," she replied. My electronics were useless, Harry — my dog — and I faced our last test together.

To say I didn't know he was dying would be untrue. The worst part of dog ownership is knowing you'll outlast them. But I didn't know he was sick. Sure, he'd aged, and his penchant for biting male suitors started to wane. Harry was nearly 13, and since birth, a biter I regularly defended against grown men with exaggerated apologies, secretly thinking, "he's 10 pounds; grow up."

He chose me

Harry and I always chose each other, although at first, he chose me.

At 22, I walked into a pet store I had no business in, considering I lived at a 450-not-dog-friendly square feet apartment. And I had no money.

Still, I proceeded to kill time by walking around tiny kennels with dogs along the long side and cats on the short. I wasn't worried about my impulsivity around the cats. But a Maltese with horrible real estate, the last dog before the cats, started going berserk. Barking, spinning, jumping. "I guess I'll play with that one," I thought.

We never stopped playing. And he became my dog.  

We did everything together

Harry and I built a life spanning every job, boyfriend, man I thought was my boyfriend but wasn't, and every New York apartment I ever had.

We'd been kicked out of places — sometimes his mouth, sometimes mine.

We traveled well, despite twice returning to dogless hotel rooms, which ended with a note: "Your dog is at security." Sheepishly, I went to collect my animal, tail between my legs, knowing his imprisonment was likely warranted. We'd been too close to the elevator, ice machine, or anyone who dared to enjoy themselves audibly in the hallway.

I knew my dog. When Harry did anything, he did it all the way.

Including his decline, which I should have seen coming.

I knew he was old, but didn't know how sick he was

He yelped once when I put on his jacket. I was rushing. He developed a slight limp. I thought he'd stepped on sidewalk salt. He started moving too slowly. Where he used to outpace me, we'd traded places. "Please hurry up," I pleaded on one of our last walks together.

Soon, I could no longer ignore the probability: there was something wrong with Harry. And a possibility: there might be something really wrong with Harry.

"He's lost two pounds since his last visit…" the vet trailed while looking down. I did quick math: nearly 20% of his body weight.

As a childless, husbandless woman in her mid-30s, this dog is the only living thing I take care of.

Cancer was everywhere. His limp was not street-salt.  His tiny bones were beginning to fracture.  And I had the nerve to hurry him up on a walk.

Then, it all came fast. On the couch where we spent most of Harry's last week, him on my chest, it was time to tell the truth, just so that we knew it. "It is OK if you have to go," I told him, and I apologized to him.

For the first time ever, Harry listened.

He died in my bed

We woke up together in bed the next morning, only one of us warm. Every few hours, I had gotten into the habit of feeling for breath. Somewhere between 3 a.m. and 7:07 a.m. Harry was gone.

Concluding a week's worth of actual nightmare — was now a logistical one. What do you do with a dead dog in your bed?

Googling suggested putting him outside or in a freezer. I called the Vet. No dice. If I'd like to have him cremated, I could bring him after 8 a.m.

I had to plan what to do. I could wrap Harry up in my duvet and carry the giant ball of cotton, down feathers, and dead dog to the vet. Except all his fluids came out after he died, so now the duvet was ruined.

I covered him in a towel instead and tried to find a bag that would fit him. After some deliberation, the only bag I knew would work was a Louis Vuitton OnTheGo — the large book tote with no top enclosure. I had been carrying him in it to his medical visits all week. This was going to be a day of big losses.

We got to the vet, where they took the dog and returned the bag empty, but the bag had to go. All I saw was Harry. It was bad enough I could visualize him bounding around the apartment's blind corners and kept his bowls out as if to say, "A dog who was as well cared for as I could muster used to live here."

I sold the bag on TheRealReal. They listed it as "like new."

Like me. A bag and a woman, navigating a "like new" life without my beloved Harry.

Read the original article on Business Insider