Контент 16+ (лексика, описания)
People are amazing creatures. They live incredibly long and almost never die. I had been living with them many years and became old, but saw that my dear family was almost the same. During all my long, very long life the time just slightly touched them with its inexorable wing. Yes, the girls became a little higher, sometimes came home late at night, sometimes left for all night somewhere with their friends, and I felt that they smoked secretly, hiding it from their mother. My friend Vasya the cat was older than me; she stopped catching the rats in the basement and hardly jumped from the window to the street. One day she disappeared. I didn’t know what happened with her. Ira was very sad and cried softly when she thought nobody would notice her. I missed Vasya too.
Later Ira moved away and only sometimes looked in for a short time to visit Mom and Sveta. Once she came with a very little baby in her arms; the girl had been called Mary. Where had she found her? Then Mary became bigger and started to walk on her own feet, and before long Ira brought home a new baby, another girl had named Vera. When Ira went away, she always took them with her. Sveta and her sister didn’t let the children tug on my ears and tail, and I appreciated it very much. Fortunately, Mary and Vera really weren’t interested in one old dog.
Sveta continued to study after school, so was very busy, but used to find a time to walk with me. And sometimes she just let out me in the courtyard and did her own business until I asked her with my barking to open a door for me.
On day Sveta was waiting for me near the porch. All at once I saw a cat in a bush and thought: ‘What if it’s Vasya?’ — I barked joyfully and ran towards it at full speed! Suddenly a sharp pain pierced my right thigh, I screeched and rolled on the ground. The cat slipped away, it really wasn’t my old friend. Sveta headed to me dismayingly, I raised myself up on my three good paws and hobbled to her, whining. I couldn’t step on my hind leg and it was very, very painful! Sveta took me in her arms and brought me home.
I was not able to find a comfortable position on my mat, I could neither sit nor lie down, and I even refused of food — first time in my life! And Sveta carried me, as it had been once in the past when we just met each other, and gathered me up in her arms. We went to a vet.
They examined me in the clinic, which distinctly smelled of different dogs, cats and meds, and detected the dislocation of the joint.
— How old is she? — The vet asked.
— I don’t know exactly, but let me count… — Sveta said, — not less than 14.
— It is too much for narcotics! — The doctor became strict. — I can’t be sure that the dog can tolerate a general anesthetic.
— But… what should we do? — Sveta confused.
— I’m just warning you, — the vet answered very seriously, — because I definitely can’t let you go without help, and your dog must be treated. However, it has a risk of not waking up.
— Everything will be ok, — Sveta decided, — Dina is healthy and strong.
Her faithful serenity somehow extended itself to me, I knew that she won’t let me stay alone. They injected me with a drug to make me faint, and the world faded out. When my eyes opened again, my leg was not so painful, Sveta was telling me sweet words and brought me home. After a few days I became able to run, but they didn’t let me to do it, and for several weeks after that walked me on a leash.
That case was a first sign of approaching old age. Over the next years my fur gradually turned gray, I lost the ability to jump, and my joints sometimes ached when the weather was cold and wet. My family let me sleep on a soft chair, because it was warmer and more comfortable than on my mat on the floor. I was old, and most of the time just slept and dreamt about the little sparrows and cats in the bushes whom I had gaily scattered on the street. One night a robber entered the basement below our flat and stole something which belonged to our neighbors.
— Why didn’t your dog even bark?! — The woman from the flat above us complained. — Bad, useless dog!
I just looked at her half-blinded and smiled. I didn’t feel angry or insulted with her and just wanted to lie on the chair.
My mind was dominated by my past and I started to forget the things which just happened: if I had just walked or had eaten recently. Sometimes my family reproached me for a puddle or a little pile of something, but I couldn’t understand them. Was it really mine? Of course, no, I’m a responsible dog, so I would remember… One day they bought a pack of diapers, made a hole in every one of them for my tail and started to put that on me. I didn’t suppose it was meant to be especially comfortable, but sighed and got on my cozy chair to have a rest.
My health became worse. I spent more time motionless because it was hard to move. Everybody was very kind to me, they spoke with me gently, stroked on my head, and I wagged to them with my tail as an answer. What else could I do for them? The hourglass of my life was coming to an end, and its few remaining grains of sand couldn’t give me as much energy as they had before.
One day Sveta invited a very polite man with confident movements and lambent eyes. I couldn’t detect what he smelled of. Drugs? Or late dandelions? Or sprawling hawthorn? My thoughts streamed calmly and leisurely. Mom was not home, but there were Ira with both her children. Sveta took me on her knees and sat on the couch. The man opened his case and I felt a precise smell of chemistry. My mind was clear that day and I understood: that’s all, the time to go forever and leave the people whom I loved so much. Ira with her little daughters came to me and touched my ears softly. Then she took the children into the other room. The man, with a razor, removed my fur on one place on my foreleg. The blade was sharp and one or two drops of blood accidentally colored my white hair, reminding me of the first days of my happy life, when the white snow had become red because of my wounds… I was scared — just a little. Nobody knows what is waiting for us there, behind the border of death, and I didn’t want to leave my family. How would they cope without me? I hid my head in Sveta’s ulnar fold and drew out my paw for the doctor. I didn’t resist, and she embraced me gently. It was good that she stayed with me. The first drug streamed into my veins and put me into a stupor. The second one stopped my heart.
I remember that the man asked Sveta quietly if she needs some time to be with my dead body, but she smiled bitterly: ‘No, she is not here now’. Sveta didn’t cry, but how many times after that she wiped her tears away thinking about me! And right now — I see! — she’s doing it again.
What I can say more? We meet very often in dreams of all the members of my family. Usually, they don’t recollect it when they wake up, but Sveta sometimes does. One night she asked me:
— I know, you died. But why can we meet?
— Because one day you didn’t leave me alone, — I answered. Now I can speak with her! — And I will always be there for you. Dogs come to where there is a place for them.
— What do you mean? — She stumbled. — Should I prepare a place for you in my home? To put a mat?
— No, dear, — I smiled, — that place is in your heart.
And I told her, that she will live so long that she will even forget the sound of my barking. When she’ll be dying, she won’t recognize her own death. But then she’ll hear my voice and remember it as we would say goodbye just yesterday. Then she will understand that I will always come to her, and it means that the former life has ended. She will head to me easily, I know. And I will always be somewhere not far, smiling and waiting near a door, another door, the most mysterious door in everybody’s life.