I will miss him, my little boy. I never really wanted kids so I got a dog instead and I treated him like my own son. Me and my wife would take him to doggy daycare 3 times a week and he would be so excited to be there. I got the impression he would want to stay there forever if he had the choice. I would call it 'dog school' and ask him questions about his day like he understood me in the evenings after I brought him home.

But he's gone. I know he's not there anymore... But the husk is. The weird shell he used to animate, the body I used to call my boy, was frozen in place at the top of the steps outside the bathroom like some kind of golem. We both knew it was coming, he was 16 years old and most dogs don't live that long. I've already cried about it and when I saw it had come to pass it felt almost like relief. I didn't need to carry him up the stairs anymore because he couldn't do it himself.

I squatted down and stroked his head, he looked so peaceful. It felt odd like stroking a hairy brick, he's not there anymore. I hope I go out this way, in my bed asleep. I wonder what he was dreaming about towards the end

The next day we begin the preparations. My wife and I have always known what we would do in this situation and we had been planning it for a while now. Some might think it macabre but we thought it was romantic and a little poetic, it's what he would have wanted.

She was crying a lot more than me. I was trying to stay strong, thinking about how proud I was of my little boy, such a good dog. She nearly broke down when we removed the small ship from the shed it's been stored in for the past 6 months. The guy did a good job making this custom viking longboat for us. my wife did some research on local carpenters once the vet gave me the bad news and got everything prepared ahead of time. I know she was impressed with the craftmanship that went into it, however sad it was.

She didn't eat much today. I didn't either. It's hard to look at a piece of meat knowing your son is rigid wrapped in blankets nearby. I went outside and threw the steak I was trying to eat to the birds and it stuck to one of the foot pegs on the phone pole outside my house.

And that evening we stood together, holding hands, next to the lake in the local park. It wasn't a huge lake but then again he wasn't a big dog. I lit some candles by the shore, nobody else was around at this hour, who uses the park at night? Rapists? I don't know. We had the place to ourselves to pay our respects.

With the candles lit, I said some nice words about him and she said hers, we looked at one another with tears in our eyes and kissed. I placed his corpse on the tiny viking longboat she helped craft and dropped it on the lake, pushing it out. We stood there in silence for a while watching him float away from us and then my wife brought out her phone and started the 'Conan the barbarian original sound track' on spotify. Just like we discussed.

After a few moments, (I was waiting to time my next action to the music for cinematic effect) I lit the arrow I had prepared earlier and picked up the bow I found on gumtree for twenty quid and hoped that all the practicing I'd been doing in the back yard would pay off.

With the arrow lit, I strung it up and with a twang it was sent it in a fiery arch towards him. My aim was true. The arrow struck the boat and all the gasoline I had poured over the whole mess caught a flame instantly. Our silence was broken by the roar of the fire as my boy was sent to Valhalla. I feel my wife's hand crawl into mine by my side and we lean into one another as the light licks our faces like he used to do. With the Conan soundtrack playing I stare into the flames and say "He always wanted a viking funeral".