“Your dog’s dying.”
What do you say to that? When you have a wound that won’t heal, there is nothing quite like having someone tear it wide open — expecting you to regard that as a courtesy. How about this? “No shit, Sherlock. A dying dog is obvious to any dog person, and I only get to watch her fading away all day, every day.”
I didn’t say that. Instead I said: “Yeah.”
Naso and I were at Duffeeland Dog Park in Sun City, basking in a late afternoon paradise you know nothing about: A three-digit temperature, a two-digit breeze straight out of the West and one-digit humidity. You sweat and sweat and never know it, and the sweat drying on your skin in the shade of the olive trees keeps you cool and serene, and the light from the setting sun gives everything a golden glow.
If I could pick one spot on the planet for Naso to die, it would be Duffeeland, the ultimate perfect Disneyland for dogs. She loves it there, and so we go there every day, sometimes twice a day. She has other favorite dog parks — and regular-people parks — and she is never shy about exploring a new one. But Duffeeland is perfect not just for dogs but for the people who love them, with abundant shade and benches all along the walking paths. All the people at Duffeeland adore Naso, and Naso loves each one of them with a sincere and devout adulation.
I’m in Sun City because my dog is dying. I’ve always had itchy feet, but we’ve taken root here, for now, because I want for her death to be as perfect as I can make it. Sun City is small-town America, circa 1955, and a big gangly Bloodhound bitch is not a nuisance here, she’s a neighbor. They love my girl at the bank, and she knows just where to go to snag a treat at the hardware store. She is welcome everywhere, admired by everyone, loved on sight by anyone who gets close enough to see her smile, and she gets pet and stroked and kneaded by absolutely everyone — repeatedly and at length — especially at Duffeeland. There could not be a better heaven for my Naso.
And her dying could not be a more perfect hell for me.
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Volume One of The Naso Diaries