For my finall essay in Comp 1, my teacher gave my class a really easy assignment. It was to write a 2-4 page pager about a strong memory, write it like we talk, and to use a picture, song, poetry etc to enhance it. Overall it's a really easy assignment, but I chose the death of my dog Oreo. I cried while I wrote it, but I think it turned out pretty well.
His eyes were open while he lay on the cold metal table. They moved slowly, dragging as he watched me with nothing but trust. It was all I could do to stay calm, to whisper softly over and over that everything was all right, nothing bad would happen now. The worst had come, and he had been such a brave and good boy. To many times, in order to make up for it lacking in the past, I choked out how much I loved him. Apologies poured out of my mouth like the heavy rain coming down outside. It was a lonely day to die, even if it was in someone else’s arms.
Just a week before Oreo, my dog, got sick, he was a bouncing puppy. Oreo was about one and a half, a black and white cookie pooch. By nature he was a herding dog, and was used to country life. Energy and playfulness and love made his every action glow with vitality. When Oreo would run, it was the gait of a gangly teenager, not yet used to the proportions of their own body. It was sheer joy to watch him play with other dogs, to play tug-o-war, or fetch. Watching him move, it would be easy to imagine him as human. Oreo would be the clueless type, the comedic guy, the one who everybody cared about and considered a friend. While he only lived with me for about two months, it would have been impossible for me to not fall in love.
Oreo was gone long before his time, immune diseases can do that. For some reason that even our vet couldn’t identify, his doggie sickness struck hard and fast. In a mere three days he went from a bouncing, bubbly, belligerent dog, to… well, gone. On the first day, he had difficulty walking, didn’t want to eat, and jumping got harder for him. By the second day Oreo wouldn’t jump at all, barely moved, and every breath sounded like agony. On the third day, he fainted from the effort of vomiting and couldn’t even make it to the back door to relieve himself... Later that morning, I took him to the vet.
I waited with Oreo in the tiny vet’s examining room for a few hours; I had hoped to stay while they ran all the tests. Everybody had been kind and understanding to us both, I’m glad we took him there. Eventually I had to go though, and was forced to trust that Oreo would be treated well while I was gone. Just before 1 o’clock I got a call, and his euthanasia was scheduled for an hour later.
After my last class that day, I walked into that little examining room for the last time. The vet gave me a few minutes alone with Oreo, and in that time he gave a final burst of energy. He picked up his blocky little head, perked his ears, and even wagged his tail at me. I cried and cried, but eventually realized that even if my pup couldn’t see what was coming, he would see my pain. Oreo deserved better than to die worried, which he would have done if I kept sobbing into his soft and shiny fur.
When five or ten minutes had gone by, the vet poked her head in and asked if I was ready. I told her I was alright, and they should do it. Gently, the vet and her kind assistant lifted Oreo onto a cold metal table. They let me stay with him, and so while the vet searched for a good vein I stroked his floppy ears and held a paw gently in my hand. He wasn’t curious for long about what was happening with the vein search, and instead just basked in the love for a while.
I couldn’t stand to watch the blue liquid being shoved into his bloodstream, or tolerate having him watch either. My hand rested next to Oreo’s eye, blocking his view, and slowly his head dropped to the table. When the vet calmly announced “He’s gone,” I didn’t believe her, and when she left the room I listened for his heartbeat. There was nothing, it was like holding a soft log. I tried to close his eyes, but his eyelids just came back up. It seemed so undignified to me… Somehow, he was dead, unmoving, gone, and so hard to understand.
That night as I sat in my living room, tuning out the T.V., I thought about it all. Holding something so young and beautiful, watching it fade to nothing, it all made me question God. The innocent shouldn’t have to suffer, the child shouldn’t die, flowers shouldn’t wilt, why must it be part of life? I realized how sheltered I had been, and didn’t understand how other people could cope with how messed up this world is.
Eventually, a week or two later, I came to peace with Oreo’s death. I still don’t have many answers to my questions, but losing him made me value what I have. Suddenly, my other dog Gigi, my family, my friends, even the ridiculous amount of crazy socks in my drawer became more important and easier to appreciate. Sometimes realizations can be harsh, but it made me see that we as humans don’t truly “possess” anything, because everything can be gone in a flash.
Even if it isn't the best bit of writing ever, it means a lot to me.