Burying the body By Helen Townsend

We have Labradors like other people have children. I know you’re not supposed to rank your kids or dogs, but Lucy was the best - a relentless retriever, a childminder, a seriously crazy horse and eccentric dog. When she was dying the vet came to give her the last rites and the fatal shot.

“We can take the body for you,” the vet said.

“No,” cried my youngest son. “I want to bury her in the front garden under one of those stone crosses with the gold writing.”

I had my doubts about the stone cross, but I told the vet we’d bury her ourselves in the back garden.

“She’s a big dog,” he said. "And heavy."

Prophetic words. Husband out, one child too small to dig. I labored like a navvy and when the hole seemed deep enough I dragged the dead weight of Lucy's body there. Alas, too small, too shallow. I dug again. Still too small. The kid was crying and I looked like a mud splattered gravedigger. I hurt, physically and emotionally.

Then the lights went out. I’d dug through the electricity cable. But in the pitch darkness I toiled on, digging, digging, digging, the kid crying, crying, crying.

We couldn't see a thing, but I tenderly laid Lucy to rest and devised an on the spot service. The kid was pacified. In the morning, the hole was revealed as a large mound, with a paw sticking out. I cried, and tenderly tucked the paw into the earth then planted a lot of flowers over the mound.

The bill to fix the cable was $500, I didn’t even price a stone cross. Vale Lucy. RIP


I've been a writer forever and have had 22 books published. Now I'm writing short stories and I love it. See them on my website and please comment. I love feedback. And of course short shorts here.

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