Chapter 75: The End

* No this isn’t the end of the story, there are 12 more chapters left *

As I held the water bowl up to his level so that he could take a drink, I knew. I wouldn’t have sent everyone else away if I didn’t, but I was still in denial. After all, Bran was the best dog, the one that everyone wanted. He was a wonder dog, search and rescue hero, obedience and agility champ, and… my partner.

Why was this happening? I had lost the love of my life (again), and I was pregnant, and now Bran was being taken from me. At such a young age too. He was supposed to be with me, helping me through life. Helping me lead the pack, be there as my child grew; be there by my side. What had I done to deserve this? Why was he being put through this painful suffering?

I wake up from my restless slumber to a whine. I still, wanting to get up, but fear stuck me in place. What if I went to him and he was gone? I hear it again along with nails scratching on the floor. I swallow my fear and gently move off the couch that I had made my make shift bed that night. I wanted to be close to him and keep an eye on him, but he could no longer make it up the stairs. He could hardly move at all. I pick up my pillow and comforter, and set them next to him on the floor of the kitchen. I watch as his chest moves up and down in a sporadic movement. His paws and legs move on the dark wood, trying to get up and whining when he fails to do so. I bite my lip as tears push against my eyes wanting to break loose. Walking over I gently lay down next to him, covering myself with the comforter, the floor hard and cold beneath me.

“Shh… babe, it’s ok,” I whisper, running my hand from his neck down across his ribs.

Tears beginning to push their way out, as I feel every bone sticking out under the flesh. The lean muscle that had helped him out run even Maggie had wasted away, leaving behind only a pathetic portion of what he had been. I slowly stroke his fur, listening to his shallow, uneven breaths. The smell of his breath was nauseating from the damn tumors.

Before I know it the sun comes up, shining its morning glow through the windows.
Bran struggles again, whining when he can’t lift himself to a standing position. I watch helplessly as the salty solution leaks out of my eyes and onto my pillow. Finally on his third try, he manages to stand. He moves extremely slowly as if every movement causes him great pain. He finally makes it to the door and just stares at it as he tries to gather some strength.

“Do you need out bud?” I ask quietly, quickly getting up and going over to him.

I open the door and look back at him. He stares at me with his piercing blue eyes, trying to send me a message. He walks over to me, ever so slowly, and lifts his head just enough to lick my hand, his body leaning against me.

A sob tears free with out my consent, knowing that he is telling me good-bye.

I gently pick him up, something I would have never been able to do before he got sick. I walk out the door and gently place him in the snow for him to do his business, but he just stiffly stands there, staring at the ground.

I sigh and pick him back up taking him into the warm house. I set him down on the comforter I had laid on the floor. But instead of lying down, he gingerly moves to the cold stone fireplace hearth, almost falling down on it in exhaustion.

I sniff, wiping away tears and trying to compose myself as I pick up the phone.

“Hello?” a voice answers after the third ring.

“Mike, it’s Caitlin.”

“Caitlin… do you want me to bring the dogs back?” he questions slowly. He was really asking if Bran had died yet.

“No, not yet,” I say quietly as I look over to the fireplace hearth where he lay, “Bran… he’s in a lot of pain, Mike, he’s suffering. I think it may be best….” I whisper my voice cracking, as I’m unable to finish.

I hear him sigh heavily on the other end.

“I can bring the injection over and do it there, Caitlin. But I can’t leave for another two hours.”

I swallow my tears.

“That’s fine. Thank you Mike.”

“See you soon Caitlin,” he replies before hanging up the phone.

I put the phone down and walk over to Bran; I lay on the carpet next to him. My hands going over his body, trying to memorize the feeling of his fur and proportions of his limbs, feeling his heart flutter irregularly under his prominent ribs. I didn’t want to remember him this way, but I wanted to remember how his fur felt between my fingers, how big his paw was compared to my hand, hell I’d even take the ranci breath if he could stay. Two hours, I had two more hours with my best friend.

As I lay on the carpet next to him, tears made their way down my cheeks. The clock on the mantle ticked away, reminding me that I didn’t have time anymore, that his time had run out. I hated this. I hated feeling this way. I didn’t want him to go.

I sniffed as I felt the chills running through my body. I didn’t want to care, but there was the baby to think about. The baby that would grow up with only stories and pictures of my partner, the “man” who had been so much a part of my life. The baby would never know my best friend. I sniff in order to breath, no longer wiping the tears away. What was the point, they only leaked out anyway.

I move to the couch next to the mantle, lying down on the overstuffed cushions. I sigh, which just comes out a shaky mess of breath. My eyes were heavy from the crying I had done, my body begging me to take a nap. But I couldn’t, if I went to sleep, I knew he wouldn’t be here when I woke up.

My mind begins to wonder as I stare at the black TV screen. What was I going to do with out him? The pack and I would move on, but how? Why do things like this happen? Why the hell did life have to be so damned complicated?! Why did I even bother loving, it only ended in heartache, so why bother? Save myself the hurt that it came with. Why couldn’t I keep anyone in my life? Everyone was always betraying me or dying, why were they doing it? It hurt so much.

Suddenly, I hear a whine from Bran’s place on the fireplace hearth and his body slightly shakes.

“Oh God,” I whisper, forcing myself to get up and go over to him.

“Bran? Babe, shh…” I say kneeling down next to him and putting a hand on him. He ceases his whining as soon as I touch him, but I’m not sure if he knows I’m there or not. He shakes and makes a sound almost as if he’s vomiting. I watch in terror as his piercing blue eyes glaze over and then roll back in his head, sinking into his skull like a scene from a horror movie. His mouth opens wide as his tongue is pushed out of his mouth and slightly hangs out.

“BRAN! NO!” I scream, my hands shaking him. “Don’t leave me.”

As soon as it comes, it suddenly ceases and he stills.

“No,” I whisper, frantically trying to find a heart beat; it doesn’t even register in my brain that he has stopped breathing.

I put my hand over where his heart is and still, feeling it slowly fade away.

“No,” I cry, “please!”

I keep my hand over his heart for the next few seconds, feeling it fade to nothing. His heart had stopped beating. I frantically try to find his pulse by his back legs where it should be the strongest, but there is nothing. He’s gone.

“Bran, No,” I whisper tears leaking out as I put my head in my hands. I can’t believe he’s gone.

I pull myself together and look at the clock. Mike would be here in 30 minutes. I get up and walk over to the phone, not looking back at the fireplace. I dial the number quickly and clear my throat.

“Caitlin?” Mike says quietly, he knew.

“Mike, you don’t need to come over. I’ll call you when I’m ready for the dogs. Thanks.” I say wanting to get off the phone as soon as possible.


“He’s gone Mike,” I say my temporary wall crumbling down as if it were made of simple plaster, “I’ll call you later, I have to go.”

“Cait….” He begins before I hang up the phone.

I cry softly going into my room, pulling the charcoal colored flannel sheet from my bed. Walking back down the stairs I walk over to the hearth where his body lay, tears blurring my vision, as I get closer.

“I will always love you,” I whisper holding in the sob that wants to break free.

I open up the sheet and gently lay it on top of the shell that once held my best friend. As the sheet covers him, leaving only the outline of his wolf like body showing through, finally the sob tears free, I’m unable to stop them. He’s gone. No longer would he be there by my side, no longer would he stare at me with his incredible blue stare, no longer was he there to protect me and love me. The world’s best dog, my partner . . . My best friend, he’s gone.

* * * *

I know a lot of you wanted Bran to live, by some miracle. But this . . . this is life sometimes. ~Aeryn

For Annie,
My own Bran who left me over a year ago after a four month battle with lymphoma at only 4yrs old. This was modeled after her death. Rest in Peace, my little Anita, I love and miss you.

I Haven’t Left At All

I saw you gently weeping as you looked through photographs

You paused for just a moment at one that made you laugh.

But as you turned more pages the tears began to flow

You whispered that you missed me but I want you to know;

I softly licked those stinging tears that from your cheeks did fall.
I want to help you understand I haven’t left at all.

On those days that you are overcome with sorrow, pain, and grief

I rest my head upon your leg to offer some relief.

When you take our walking path I’ve see you turn around

Because I know you surely heard my paws upon the ground.

At night while you are sleeping I snuggle at your side

You stroke my fur as you touch that place where I used to lie.

You said it’s just your heart playing tricks upon your mind

But rest assured I’m really there, my spirit’s left behind.

I know your heart is hurting; it’s like an open sore

You think my life has ended and you won’t see me anymore.

But for those of us bound tight by love, death is not the curtain call,

It’s really the eternal beginning that waits for us all

So, dear Master as you live your life I patiently await

For us to be together when you pass through Heaven’s gate.

~Author Unknown

January 05, 2010 at Tuesday, January 05, 2010

11 Comments to "Chapter 75: The End"

That chapter was so sad. You need to remember to look after the baby, please dont let anything bad happen to the little one. I am very over emotional just now as I am 7 months pregnant. Keep up the good work.

So very sad!! I didn't want to cry but I totally did!!

oh wow, I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate admitting this- but dogs aren't my favorite, I'm actually not a big animal person (ughh don't hate me please!) but that was amazing and beautiful and I cried. Wow, these stories are making me all emotional!

Posted by Kate ( January 6, 2010 at 2:36 PM )

I loved it. Even though I did hope Bran would live by some miracle, I knew it was coming. It was a really sad chatper, but very well written. You really did well with writing the emotion in there. I can't wait for more. I know Sid didn't make it there to be with Cait when Bran died, but maybe he can get there and pick up the pieces. :)

This was so well written, and very emotional...I am so sad for Caitlin!

Posted by Anonymous ( January 6, 2010 at 6:21 PM )

Very Sad & very good chapter.
Now Sid needs to get his butt out there,because she will really need him.

Aeryn I am most honestly sitting on my couch sobbing... That was the most beautiful thing I have ever read and I don't think you will leave a single pet owner with dry eyes... Especially a dog owner.

Thank you.

Oh my God. Aeryn, what you wrote in this chapter was probably the most beautiful and saddest thing I've ever read. I'm sitting here typing this still crying and I don't cry easy. I went through something so similar with a pet that I once had so this hit close to home. I feel for Caitlin and honestly hope that things get better for her. Sidney needs to make a re-appearance.

Amazing. I cannot wait for more of this story. I'm going to miss Bran though. </3

Posted by Grace ( January 8, 2010 at 8:20 PM )

Oh my God Aeryn - that was so sad. I loved it though. Really nice job writing it. The emotion was amazing! Now Sid needs to get there to comfort Caitlin.

Posted by Anonymous ( January 19, 2010 at 4:00 PM )

This chapter made me cry, I am shaking. I had a whole litter of kittens pass, 14 total. Thier mothers wouldn't take care of them and they died one at a time, Ithat was the hardes't time in my whole life.

R.I.P my dear small souls

I know this is really late but, I judt found this story and I read the entire thing in one day. I am literally still crying as I write this. I jut wanted to say you are an amazing writer and I love this story. I am so sorry about your dog. I can't imagine the pain.

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Discovering...Love? by AS is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.