I wrapped the dog in a blanket, lifted him gently into the car, and took him to the vet. Beside him on the seat, I folded a red quilted jacket I bought 30 years ago on a freezing December day in Seoul. If Pete had to be put down, I planned to wrap him in my old warm coat and take him home to bury him.
Even the sound of knife on chopping block which normally rouses him from the deepest slumber had no effect. Later in the day, I found him standing stock-still in the kitchen, staring at a patch of floor as if in a fugue. When he needed to go outside he whimpered to be let out, no longer willing to execute the balletic manoeuvre required to slot himself through the pet door. I let him into the garden. When he had relieved himself he went back to his basket and curled in on himself again.
Not even the sun sprawling invitingly at the kitchen door didn’t lure him from bed.