Corky's big brown eyes water up at me and I hold his face in my hands. I wonder if he knows how much I love him. If he knows how it hurts to leave him. I hope that somehow, in his way, he can understand we can't keep him anymore.
There is no tail wagging this time. My heart lurches and guilt threatens to suffocate me.
We should have fought to keep our home. Should'a, could'a, would'a. Too late now. I should have said no when the new owners said they'd keep Corky. My chest tightens and regret stings my eyes.
I check the trailer door. I don't want to go. Don't want to leave my friend. My home.
The dust boils slowly behind my rig and the old dog sits at the corner of the house and watches us go. I stare at him in the rearview--I want him to run after us. I want him to bark for me to wait. I will stop and take him anyway. Promises or no. But he turns and disappears into the shade of his favorite maple tree.
I picture him in his cool hole, dug with care and deliberation. A grand hole only a Lab can excavate. A bed of dirt where he'll nap until dusk brings awake the night critters. The stirrings that will lure him out for an evening jaunt in the lightning bugs and mosquitoes. I worry coydogs will get ahold of him. Tear him apart.
I almost turn around.
29 January 2014