There is something to be said for digging a grave with your own two hands, on a crystal clear blustery day on a hill overlooking the mouth of the river and the cold blue Pacific in the distance.
There is something to be said for cutting your soft palms open with the wood of an ancient spade that has dug a hundred graves like this before and knows exactly what angle and what depth to cut the hard clay.
There is something to be said for a muddy wheelbarrow and a worn and faded blanket wrapped around a figure that should be sleeping but isn't, and seeing the sad eyes and stooped shoulders of the ones you love who help you dig the hole, knowing that the body that will fill it isn't the dog you loved, it's something else, something that needs taking care of with love and respect all the same.
There is something to be said for holding the entire span of a life in your head and in your heart, from the moment that shiny red penny of a pup came out of her mother with one ear on one side and two on the other, and the day she had to be taken to the vet to have that extra ear removed, which left the remaining ear droopy, so her head looked perpetually cocked in that, "What the hell are you talking about?" look, to the day she shredded the stack of important bills and strewed maraschino cherries on the white futon, to the moment she can't get comfortable and food tastes like ash in her mouth and she tells you it's time, and you know she's right.
There's something to be said for the heavy paving stones that have to be laid over the blanket and the earth to make the work of the coyotes harder and longer and maybe too much, but it's never enough and in six months or a year, you'll come back and have to collect the bones, because that's just the way it is.
There's something to be said for the steaming hot cup of coffee and the giggling of the baby and the warm company of family who have lived this day a hundred times and it never gets any easier, but it's right and good and the way of things.
(With apologies to Williams Carlos Williams)