Everyone who’s ever had a dog has had a dog who died

I’m taking a new writing class with my fiction-writing teacher. A memoir-writing class, because I knew when Isis died that I was meant to write a memoir about our life together.

I’m wary of writing a book where the dog’s death is a surprise. When I read Marley & Me, I knew how it was going to end, because I did the math. Still, I heard from several readers who felt betrayed by the sweet little story where the dog dies at the end. At the end of a long, happy life, I might add.

Although Isis’ sudden and unexpected death is a wonderfully surprising twist that no one would see coming, I want to protect my readers from the heartbreak that we felt. I have written ten pages to turn in about that day in February when I brought Leo to work with me, had the loveliest time, and then got the call that Isis had died. I think the first part of those pages, up until I arrive home, will be the first chapter of the book. But the rest of what I turn in — the details of what happened to her, how we felt that day, and what we did next — will happen later in the book. After the first chapter, I will go back to the day we got Isis and tell the story from the beginning.

Yesterday, I wrote the scene at the vet’s office the day Isis died. We saw a vet I’d never seen before (and hadn’t seen since). I remembered her first and last name, and how nice she was.

Today I took the dogs to the vet for some routine stuff, and was very surprised when that doctor came into the exam room. The first thing I said was, “Oh! You were here when my dog Isis died in February.” She said she thought I looked familiar, and then had the pleasure of meeting Miss Mia.

3 thoughts on “Everyone who’s ever had a dog has had a dog who died

  1. Ooh! This is a really helpful post to read as I’m (supposed to be) typing up my critique for you. I like the back story of your intentions.

    (The piece is great. Also, I’m glad that Mia’s joined your family.)

  2. Thanks for reading! I wasn’t sure if it was presumptuous to tell the class my plans for my completed memoir. But I guess I’ve already been talking about the cover and the photos I want to include, so I’ve given myself away. 🙂 See you Tuesday!

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