The instrument of your death is familiar, always just under the surface. As it spreads, you grow accustomed to its coating your furniture and car upholstery, gathering in tumbleweeds on the floor, and surrounding you like an aura. You feel like Pig Pen from Peanuts, if he owned a German shepherd and instead of dirt, he walked around in a cloud of dog hair.
Golden tufts poke out from beneath her sleek outer coat, coming out easily in your hands, leading to an obsessive-compulsive grooming ritual reminiscent of pulling the spines off a shedding pet iguana.
The undercoat is pervasive. Annoying, but harmless. Comes with the territory of loving your dog. Why not let her lie on his pillow? She fills the void when he gets out of bed.
While sleeping, you open your mouth for an intake of breath and draw in a wispy mass, once part of her. Gasping for air, you suck the undercoat deeper into your lungs. Without breath, your scream is silent and the dog beside you remains unaware that the world grows darker until finally you lay dead beside this precious creature who filled your heart with joy beyond measure, and your last thought before you die is, “No dog should ever outlive her person.”
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