My brother was driving his old white Dodge pick-up real slow and I knew why. Malcolm was in the bed, and my brother was trying to miss all the ruts in the lane leading to the open field behind his house.

He didn’t want to jostle the dog.

My heart stopped for a minute as the white truck mounted the hill, looking big as a mountain. It slowly approached the newly dug grave, and I tried hard not to cry, but the tears came anyway.

Ed parked the truck and he and Rebekah reached for Malcolm.

Careful now, Ed said to his daughter.

But Malcolm didn’t care if they were careful or not. His spirit was off chasing a rabbit or a squirrel, and he didn’t care what happened to his flesh. He was free now. He had beaten the cancer by dying, and as his spirit soared above the treetops, I could almost hear his bark on the wind.

Gentle now, my brother said, and the love in his voice was more overwhelming than the sadness we felt at losing a beloved pet.

Sharon Kennedy

Sharon M. Kennedy is a freelance writer from Brimley, a small town on the shores of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Sharon writes a general interest column for a number of local newspapers. She admits she’s a late blooming “Boomer” and tends to forget that most women her age are enjoying retirement while she’s embarking on a new career. After teaching English Composition at a local university, Sharon turned to her real love. Writing stories that tug at your heartstrings or make you chuckle is her hallmark.