Put to Sleep

Jackson’s father calls at 5 a.m. “I’m depressed,” he tells Jackson, “but that’s not why I’m calling.” Jackson’s father, who turned ninety-two a month ago, says he just wants Jackson to know he’s going to put Bucknell to sleep.

“Dad, you can’t do that. Bucknell is a great dog,” Jackson says. Bucknell, an Irish setter, has been a lifeline for Jackson’s parents for the past eight years; he was named for the college whose football team Jackson’s father’s team could never beat. Jackson takes the phone from the bedroom, where his wife is sleeping soundly, to his drafting table in the next room. “What does Mom say?”

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