Today I took our dog Alabama to be put to sleep. She was fifteen, a Pointer mix, white with black ticking, black ears, and a black eye-patch. When she was on her feet and anxiously pacing the room (thank you, dementia, you bastard), she stood about knee-high to me, a bit less to my husband, Andy, who is very tall. She was emaciated, but this was more alarming to strangers than it was to us, for she’d been thin to the point of ribbiness her entire life, and one of her thousand-and-one nicknames was Fishbones.

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