for o'malley, a good dog.

"Hey, Sandra, I gotta take Devin to the vet-"

I laughed. See, Devin is a person, and it sounded like he needed to go to the vet. Funny!

"-because he just found out that O'Malley has a brain tumor, and they have to put him down today," Trevor finished.

Aw, crap. That was not a good time to laugh.

O'Malley is not a person, he is a dog. I'd last seen him a month or so ago, when we were hanging out at the house with Devin and his girlfriend Celia. O'Malley always surprises me with how big a dog he is, part lab and part something shaggy and part something else, too. I remember back when he was a puppy, and then there were a couple years when I didn't see him, and then later there was this huge, shiny black dog they were calling by the same name.

Celia was talking about his health issues, which seemed to be many. He had some kind of abscess and so he got frequent nosebleeds. They'd had to switch dog foods, because he'd quit eating the regular old Purina stuff they'd been buying him. Now, they had to buy something with the word "holistic" on the bag.

"I bet it only comes in small bags, doesn't it?" I had asked, maybe a little smugly. My dog will eat whatever.

She nodded yes.

So he was going to have to have surgery for his abscess, and she was going to make sure they trimmed his nails while he was sedated. He would not consent to it while awake, and his nails were so long that he was having trouble walking.

To be smug again, my dog actually will bite her own nails.

She sighed and looked down at the floor. "We were saving money to put in hardwood floors, but I guess that'll have to wait." But then she brightened. "I'd do anything for my animals."

My smugness vanished. I've never priced hardwood floors, but if my pet required a surgery that cost that much, I'm not sure that I would pay it. I love my dog a lot, I swear, but if we're putting a price on it, I guess not as much as Devin and Celia love O'Malley.

I guess it wasn't an abscess after all. O'Malley's decline was quick and completely unexpected. He was in pain. He couldn't sit still, and yet he could barely walk. He seemed disoriented. The doctor said there was nothing to do. So they sent O'Malley to the beyond. Trevor said it was peaceful.

He got home later that afternoon, and our dogs greeted him with enthusiastic tail wags and good health. To pet them both, he put down the package he'd brought in. It was a small bag of holistic dog food.

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