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tfw: Your Dog Is Asleep But You Think They’re Dead

tfw is a mini personal essay series I’m try to do on Tuesdays to recount second-person experiences of feelings and experiences we all have. Or maybe I’m the only one who has them?

She’s sleeping. It’s cute when she sleeps. You stare at her and her little legs are running and you laugh and you nudge your boyfriend. “Look at her,” you whisper. “She’s having a dream.” You smile and you can feel him smile and then the two of you watch television or look at websites or do whatever it is you do at 10PM on a weeknight.

She quiets down and goes still, into a deeper sleep without the dreams. You watch her. She’s so pretty, you think, and you wonder what she thinks about and what was going on in that dream. Will she have another dream? That would be cute.

Her head flops off the couch and it appears that she has broken some bones to fall into that position, her neck bending backwards, beyond the normal degrees they could stretch backwards. Her eyes are open but they aren’t moving. There’s a film over them. Is she okay? You wonder. That doesn’t seem comfortable. You stare and you look at your boyfriend and notice that he is on his phone so you look back at the dog and she still hasn’t moved and you think that something is up.

You lean close to her and place a hand on her chest. You don’t feel anything. Is she breathing? You can’t tell. She isn’t moving and you couldn’t feel a heartbeat. Is she dead? She can’t be. That would be such an unceremonious death. Sometimes she falls into such a deep sleep that it feels like she’s dead but she’s not. That’s probably what’s happening, you think.

You grab her head and it’s weightless. There is no life in there. Your stomach twists and creeps toward your taint and your parts get all tingly. This is it. You discovered your dog is dead. You have to tell your boyfriend. You have work tomorrow. Can you handle staying up all night figuring how to deal with a dead dog? What does this mean for your week? When do you tell your friends and family that she died?

Her head is still in you hand and you think about her life and how, minutes ago, she was running in her dreams. You shake her head again and nothing happens and you drop her head and you put a hand to your mouth and you start to get teary and you go to speak and tell your boyfriend the news but then you decided to touch her again and you pet her chest and you think about her life and how great it has been and how she was such a sweet, good dog and then you give her a little shake and then you think that, if she is dead, there has to be something you can do that will test her cognizance so you put your hand on her face and you slide two fingers into her lips and open her mouth and you pet her tongue and your dog’s eyes light up and she coughs and she sits up and she stares at you, blinking slowly, uncomfortably, and she gets off the couch and she goes to her bed in the other room, to be alone with her sleep.

“Why did you put your hand in her mouth?” your boyfriend asks. “She was sleeping.”

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