Jack is lying on the ottoman we call “Puzzle Island,” named after our dearly departed Puzzle, who was so almighty and strong, and suddenly withered to a skeleton with a vague and devastating diagnosis. Liver failure. They gave him a week to live, and I spent the week fighting wildly to replenish his liver, with potions, powders, milk thistle—everything the kind man in the animal health food store suggested. It didn’t work. Puzzle loved the ottoman. So does Jack.
Trying to motivate myself to put on my shoes and go fetch yesterday’s laundry, I pause to see Jack’s eyes, looking a little melancholy, or so I thought. I bend down and put my face near his, and he places a warm paw on my hand and closes his eyes. We remain like this for several moments, perfectly still. I listen to his little squeaky breaths, stroke his paw, almost fall asleep.