That dull and heavy thump of death

This is the latest in a series of essays titled “Man Has Premonition of Own Death”

I was not a witness to our pet cat Tabitha’s vision of my dead grandmother. But I was there when our dog Patches had a premonition of her own death.

The poor mutt had been lethargic all day. She couldn’t even stand. But it was Thanksgiving Day, and a veterinarian could not be found, and so Patches lay quietly in her bed in a corner of the kitchen as our family enjoyed the Thanksgiving feast. After dinner we were all in the living room watching television – a variety show or a football game or an old movie, I don’t remember what – when suddenly, startlingly, there stood poor Patches, somehow back on her feet. But those legs attached to those feet quivered as Patches, so weak she could hardly walk, somehow managed to make her way to each member of our family, stopped in front of each of us, and looked at us sadly with her sad beagle eyes. Finally Patches reached my little brother Tom, her last stop, and summoning up one final burst of energy managed to climb up to my brother’s lap, managed to lift herself one more time to give my brother’s face a farewell lick – and then died with a sigh in my brother’s arms.

When I hear someone say it’s raining like cats and dogs I somehow twist that around in my mind and think of ghosts and weird premonitions, and dwell – although I know it is not good to dwell on such things – on the notion that there are things in the world that only dumb animals can see and know, and perhaps this is a good thing, and I think my poor brother felt this way too when Patches the Beagle died in his lap on Thanksgiving Day. When he realized that he had a dead dog in his lap, my brother’s instinct was to quickly push the dead dog off his lap, and I still remember that dull and heavy thump of death when Patches’ dead body fell to the floor.