The Job

 

Black Greyhounds speckled by white dandruff.
Goldendoodle drawing yellow on the walls.
German Shepherd puppy nervous eyeballing the hall
for something he thought he’d herd. No neck chihuahua
presented for neck pain, client wearing cracked foundation
and comfortably weekday maroon on ribbed lips.
She knows you from somewhere you’ve never seen her before.
Her dog just chihuahua’d all over the floor.
Can I get an assistant to clean up in six. No?
All six are dogpiled on an ornery St. Bernard in grooming.
Fighting the good fight. Losing. Cut to the quick several places.
Messily clumping yellow powder turned orange in blood like medics frantic
on battlefields. Laid on hips breathing hard. Patient muzzled. Biting his tongue.
Breathing through his own snout like it was a straw
punctured clear through to the back of his heaving throat.

Is it awake.
Is it alive.
There’s a good girl.
Loudly to the room.
She’s breathing.
Again.

Hang up that phone. Apply pressure here. Hand me the lube. Get me a fecal.
At a boy. Fishhooked a turd first try. First euthanasia. Firstcry.
A seven year old tortie cat with an impressive splenic mass.
Hard choices to make today. Let me prepay.
Let me take care of all of this so that as soon after she’s gone I can go.

And that’s the job. We translate the cost of pet ownership
that would preclude almost anyone from owning one in the first place.

I pressed her warm soft lifeless paws in black ink and rolled them onto a card
to send to the client. I put her in a box. Laid her in a freezer.
And prayed for her all the things that might please her.
And to give me peace. And she gave me peace.

And we gave each other peace.

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