Harry awoke in the night and began deciding if it was worth it to use the restroom. His hand dropped from the recliner’s armrest and he was surprised to feel soft, warm fur. He shifted, turned his neck, and saw a big dog lying against the recliner, its legs stretching under the bed where Sabrina slept. Somehow, he wasn’t alarmed. Harry’s fingers scratched its shoulder. The dog pawed the air.
He hoisted himself into his walker, making it to the toilet and back. The dog lifted its head. Its eyes shone like moons. Its tail thumped, and Harry motioned for it to hush. He fell back to sleep stroking its fur.
In the morning, after Sabrina fed him with a funnel through the tube in his stomach, Harry wrote on his notepad, “WHEN GET DOG?”
Sabrina shook her head. “I don’t want a dog,” she said.
The black dog was rolling on the living room carpet, snorting happily. Harry shrugged.
In the evening, Harry sat with Sabrina on the sofa and they listened to Mozart, the black dog curled against his legs. Sabrina’s eyes closed. Suddenly, the dog rose to its feet, ears perked. It was tall enough to look Harry in the eyes with an unmistakable expression of eagerness.
“A walk? All right. I feel like stretching my legs too.” Harry rose from the sofa effortlessly, silent so not to wake Sabrina. “Let’s both of us have a cookie on the way out.”
The black dog wagged its tail.