The Last Rolo

The last Rolo
News comes that Rolo MacMahon died in August. Rolo was the dwarf Labrador from down the road who used to finish our dinner scraps. He was a good friend to three finicky sisters, and a great favourite of my father’s. Because he never grew tall or sensible, we thought of him as a pup well into his seventies.

When he grew too old and blind to visit the neighbours, MacMahons arranged for him to be put to sleep. Michael is arthritic, so Dad went down to dig the grave. Rolo recognized Dad’s voice—treats! roast beef!—and bounded over as best as he was able. He landed prematurely in the fresh grave and had to be helped out so the vet could finish him off. My father considered a swift shovel blow to save the trouble but decided that Rolo deserved a gentle, city dog’s end. This was, after all, the sweet Labrador we once saw backing away from a dominant young rabbit.