Twice a day, I find my finger inside a jar of peanut butter. It's always my right index finger and always the creamy variety, never the crunchy. I myself do not care much for creamy peanut butter, but Otis loves it. Coating his various medications in the messy stuff ensures that my dearest pal consumes them and therefore remains healthy and happy for as long as he is able.
If you've never experienced the sensation of a faithful, trusting, exuberant dog lapping healing potions off of the surface of your skin, I feel very sorry for you. These glorious moments spent with my friend — when we get up in the morning and then again when we go to sleep at night — are the stuff that perfect joy (of the creamy variety) is made of.
I tell myself he doesn't know that he's sick, that these few moments of sweet peanuty togetherness are a treat for him and treat alone. That he sees this time together as much as a bonding opportunity with me as I do with him. He looks happy. His eyes are still bright. He still eats a little. And answers when I call, mostly. I settle for this because I must.
One day, perhaps very soon, there will be no need for creamy peanut butter in my cupboard. And I will miss its touch. Terribly.