by Carol Ann Lantz
He raised his head,
thumped his tail
to let us know someone
had come into the room.
No more than that;
he rested on his bed exactly as before,
chin on floor,
eyes locked on mine,
rib cage lifting lightly
beneath my hand.
We were told what to expect:
he might jerk his legs, would pant
when his lungs were desperate for breath,
his body would shudder, then relax.
He would be gone.
The man said it again: no pain;
the drug coursing through his veins
would make sure of that-
the dog's brain would be first to die.
He didn't jerk his legs.
He didn't shudder.
He panted fast and hard.
Then he relaxed,
sightless eyes still watching mine.
It seemed a lifetime before his heart beats grew faint.
Then there was nothing. Nothing
but emptiness and cold November rain.