This is about a Mexican street dog, a dog with no owner. For some reason, he had taken to following me around, even though I never paid him much attention.
But then — I remember it was in late August — I noticed a change. Whenever I went to a cafe, he usually settled nearby, but now he would lie directly under my table. At home, by the pool, whenever I moved the lounge chair to get more sun, he would move along with me, despite the fact that I knew he preferred the shade. And instead of foraging for extra food after dark, he would choose to stay the night on my front doorstep.
It didn’t take long before I thought I knew what was going on. According to neighbors, he was at least fifteen years old. Both hind legs were arthritic. He often stalked non-existent insects he imagined crawling along the floor.
With all this in mind, I realized he must have known by some instinct that he was soon going to die, and that staying close to someone who could give him comfort would make the process easier.
As a consequence, I began sharing more of my meals with him. I bought him a flea collar, and even tried to get rid of the tangles in his coat with a curry comb. He didn’t really like the combing, but I felt he submitted to it because it amounted to an excuse to stay close to me.
Six weeks later, in mid-October, I died. It wasn’t until then that I figured it out.
— Jordan Crittenden
This short fiction first appeared on the local message board in Barra de Navidad in the days following Jordan's passing.
Comfort is reprinted here — with the knowledge of the original recipient of this story — in the hope of expanding Jordan's audience.