The presidential campaign on full tilt, I found two friends to visit Doc each day and keep him company. By late summer, just before the conventions, I knew he was in trouble. I told the boys, now grown men, that Doc was dying. They traveled home to say goodbye.
He survived until Thanksgiving. A vet technician had been coming to the house daily since September. She gave him liquid medicine that made him froth at the mouth, a shot, a daily IV drip because he didn’t drink enough water, and a variety of pills.
I knew he was miserable, but I told myself he’d get better. I regret the final weeks.
I was gone Thanksgiving Day. When I came home, Doc was dead, doing for himself what I couldn’t do for him. He was 17. As I drove his body to the vet, I thanked him for watching over my boys, for being part of us.
I flew again to Chicago, now covering the Obama transition, saying nothing because I couldn’t. Sitting on the CNN bus one night, my cell rang. It was the vet technician telling me how sorry she was about Doc. I lost it. My producer asked, “Is it your mother?”
One day, I’m going to get another dog—and a cat. I am so a cat person.