In one of my most vivid memories from childhood I am holding Indy, our aged and infirm family Dalmatian, on the floor of the veterinarian’s office with my mother. Suffering from interminable seizures, and nearly unable to walk, Indy is past the point where we can convince ourselves that even the most dedicated and loving care offers him comfort.
The vet speaks to us kindly in a hushed voice and we soothe Indy while I watch the viscous pink fluid push through the IV. I’m shocked by how quickly Indy dies. One moment I’m holding my dog, and in the space between breaths he is gone.
What sticks with me most about that moment is not Indy’s death. It is the strange feeling I had that the lifeless body I held afterwards was not him. A feeling that the spotted coat in my arms was just that, a coat Indy left behind as he flew away with the air of that last breath.