This post is an account of the day Spike was laid to rest. Bear with me please. I want Spike’s story to be written to its conclusion.
Thursday, August 21
Bridget hears my sobs and comes out from under the bed covers. She squints under the overhead light. Then she sniffs Spike’s body lying on the bed. It’s four o’clock in the morning.
I stifle my crying and go to the stove to heat up the pot of coffee.
Bridget stares at me.
“Our Spikey’s gone, Bridge. He’s gone.”
While the coffee heats and Bridget watches, I lift Spike from the bed and place him on the fluffy rug on the floor, one of his sleeping spots. I cover him with a navy blue towel, freshly washed this morning. Bridget disappears under the covers.
Strange at it seems, I fix a cup of coffee, sit down at my laptop table, and write a blog post. Describing the day the three of us arrived at Camp Absaroka takes me back to that happy day. As I write, Spike is still alive. He’s sniffing around a new camp like he always does. He steps into the stream and jumps out again.
A few times I look to the floor and I’m startled by the present reality.
Around eight Bridget wakes up. I get dressed and carry Spike out to the Perfect Tow Vehicle. A light rain is falling. Carefully I place Spike on the quilt in his usual place on the bench seat and tuck the towel around him. Bridget is at my feet. I lift her into her bed between the front seats.
Bridget immediately leaves her bed to sit next to Spike on the bench seat. I cry quietly the ten miles into town, rain on the windshield matching my tears. Behind me Bridget cries softly from her vigil beside Spike.
At the vet’s office, I ask where I can have my dog cremated. The veterinarian tells me I’d have to drive to Lander (75 miles away).
“Or you can take him up into the mountains and bury him.”
Back in the PTV I realize I’m not thinking well.
I must be in shock. What did I expect to hear? Like there’s going to be a pet crematory in a little town like Dubois?
On the way back to camp, Bridget continues her faint whimpering with every breath. The image of a dignified, stricken Jackie on the plane, returning to Washington with her fallen husband, comes to mind.
I pull into camp. It’s good that I drove the ten miles to town and back. Spike had one last ride with Bridget at his side.
I decide on a place where the earth is soft enough for me to dig, and near, but not too close, to a pretty, young aspen tree. It’s at the edge of the woods. An abandoned fire ring is nearby. I can use the rocks from it.
Another fire ring, in perfect shape, is not far off. That’s good. If there’s a fire ring already available, the mutants won’t come and steal the rocks from Spike’s grave to make a new one.
I find a box in the PTV and lower Spike’s body, wrapped in clean towels, into it. I close the top and carry the box over to the site. A light rain falls as I commence digging. Bridget sits in the rain and solemnly watches as I shovel.
Spike’s final resting place
At last the digging is done.
“I have to take a break. Let’s go inside, honey.”
When we return to the site, Bridget walks over to the box and sniffs it. Then I lower the box, cover it with dirt, pack it down, and carry the rocks from the old fire ring until a mound is formed.
“Tomorrow I’ll clean up the area around here and make it nice. C’mon, sweetie. We need to get out of this rain.”
Bridget heads back to the BLT. I take a few steps, stop, and turn.
Bye, Spikey, my sweet boy. I did my best.
NOTE: My sincere thanks to each one of you who expressed sympathy to me and Bridget or simply shared our sorrow. Thanks also for your patience while I was having technical problems with my blog.
Bridget and I will leave Dubois in a few days in search of a new camp!