The dog died in a trash compactor. He chased a Frisbee in there and by the time the children figured out where he had run off to, it was too late.
"Here’s your dog," said the machine operator. He tossed the oldest boy a tiny cube of fur and bone the size of Lego. "Real sorry about that."
Even though I didn’t know them, I hated to see the children cry so I told them that maybe there was a chance. Maybe there was a solution.
"Like those little sponge pills," I said. "You put the pill in the water and it grows into a dinosaur or something."
"There’s some water over there!" said the younger boy.
We ran over to the edge of the parking lot, where sure enough, an ice bucket half-filled with water had been left unattended.
"Lucky us!" I shouted.
The children seemed happy enough and I guess something in their hopeful expressions turned me into a believer, too. Maybe on a day like Valentine’s Day, the magic of love could defy logic just enough to give some of us another chance.
They dropped the cube into the water, but nothing great happened. It sort of broke apart, expanding, sure, but definitely not turning back into a live dog
"But at least it’s not a cube anymore," I offered, foolishly. As if the real problem this entire time had been about the state of the dog’s corpse and not that he had died tragically.
The children started crying again, harder if you can believe it.
Later that night I thought back to what had happened with the children and their dog and I wondered: If I could go back in time and change anything, would I? Probably. I’d probably change the part where I said it might be possible to save a dead dog.