It had taken Garrett a while to fall asleep even though his eyes
were heavy and his body sore. He attributed it to the echoing silence of
the house. He had gotten used to the loud city sounds while he slept. In
Granny’s pitch-black bedroom, all he could hear was a faint barking
sound in the distance, and the rustling of the leaves.
He finally fell asleep only to awake by a train whistle blowing. He
groaned not remembering a train rolling through in all the times he had
slept over Granny’s house. Garrett glanced at the alarm clock on the
nightstand. It was three-fifteen-am on the nose.
He lay with his head buried in the pillow waiting for the train to
pass. Once it did, sleep was even harder to come by. Garrett could hear
the barking in the distance again, but it was getting closer. He
remembered Brownie loved to chase the four-pm train. Garrett would
walk her by the tracks and they’d both run after the train as it passed.
He thought if Brownie had heard the train go through in the
middle of the night, she’d probably begin to howl and wag her tail by the
door. With that thought, he threw back the covers and headed
downstairs. Clad in just his boxer shorts, he turned on the hall light and
sleepily banged into the doorknob to the closet. He heard a chain rattle
and was surprised to see Brownie’s old leash wrapped around the gold
knob. He didn’t remember seeing the leash there earlier in the day.
He fingered the chain links with a sad smile before continuing
into the kitchen. Opening the refrigerator, Garrett took out the leftover
dinner his mother had made. He sat down with it at the table with just
the two old wooden chairs surrounding it. He wished the nook was still
in the house, but knew it must have brought his mother comfort since
Granny had it since she was a little girl.
He devoured the cold leftovers, compensating for lack of cigarettes
and alcohol in the house. He heard the barking getting louder once
again. Curiously, he placed the Tupperware in the sink and walked
down the hall. The barking now sounded as if it were right outside the
front door. He glanced through the peephole and couldn’t see the dog
causing all the noise on the sleepy street. He unlocked the door and the
barking ceased in an instant. With caution, Garrett proceeded to open
The porch was empty; the block desolate. Silent; as if no dog had
been there a moment ago. Garrett figured it was some skittish mutt
whose bark was bigger than his bite, and he probably ran off into the
He closed the door, locked it and headed upstairs. He lay there in
silence for a good half an hour more. Finally he fell into a deep sleep
with memories of Brownie floating through his subconscious mind.
The day Brownie died was the most difficult day of the first fifteen
years of my life. It haunts me more than any beating my father had given
me. She was twelve-years-old. She had lived a fairly long life for a dog,
but still, I wasn’t ready to let her go.
She was part Golden Retriever and part German Shepherd, who
are known for their hind legs giving out in old age. That’s just what
happened to Brownie. I was playing cards with Granny and Kevin when
we heard a thud and Brownie’s cries.
She had been limping for the past couple of years, but when we
rushed over to the foot of the stairs, Brownie lie there with her legs
collapsed underneath her. She had urinated on herself, either out of fear,
or she lost all control from the pain. Granny instructed us to help get
The agony must have been too much for her to handle. She tried to
run and began banging her head into the side of Granny’s car. It was
horrifying. We kept calling out to her.
Granny asked me to help her get Brownie in the car. I knew where
she was taking her. That realization instantly made me sick to my
“Go home, boys,” she told us.
Kevin sniffled and hugged Brownie, whispering goodbye to her. I
couldn’t do it—I couldn’t leave Brownie yet.
“I’m coming,” I said firmly, getting in the passenger seat.
“Rett,” Granny sighed.
I didn’t even look at her. She knew I wouldn’t leave Brownie.
Granny got in the car and we took off to the only veterinary clinic in town.
Granny and I stood over Brownie as she lay helplessly on the table
in the vet’s office. There were actually tears coming out of Brownie’s eyes.
“You’ll be okay, baby,” Granny tried to soothe her as she pet her.
The doctor came in and we knew it was time. I clutched Brownie
and whispered in her ear.
“I love you, girl.”
I began to sob and Brownie let out a small cry in return. The doctor
gave her the shot. I watched the life drain from her and I wanted to vomit.
Granny pulled me to her and just held me as I cried more than I ever had.
I don’t think I have cried much since that day. It was as if I had gone
numb after losing the only thing to comfort me in life.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish