Loving and Loyal

November 24, 2016
By e.landenberger BRONZE, Barrington, Illinois
e.landenberger BRONZE, Barrington, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

A tear rolls down my face, my cheeks burning making them almost welcome the coolness of what that small water droplet gives. I’m afraid to look up from my phone, that I will see the sadness from my own mother’s eyes and the strong will my father tries to portray but I can easily see through. My heart sinks when I hear the truck shift into park. In front of me, my parents are looking straight ahead, not wanting me to see their own weaknesses. While behind me is the place I always found wonderful but now dread, wishing I had no need to be there. Then there next to me sits the loving, loyal dog I will soon have to say goodbye to.
She leans up against me, warming up my left thigh, which normally would have bothered me but I didn’t want to face the fact of never again feeling her silky fur or hearing her protective bark whenever the UPS guy would drive up to our house. I’m the first to move, I open up the door and hop out. I pause for a moment feeling, wondering how I could maneuver so freely while my mind feels like it’s wading through Jello. Into my back pocket I stuff my phone, the one thing protecting me from bursting into tears. I lean in and carefully pick-up that small dog who I notice is really struggling to breathe. Again I find myself flowing through the motions when I almost set her down on the ground before realizing she can’t walk on her own. She can’t even lift her own head. I internally yell at myself. How stupid could I be? I’ve been taking care of this dog for a month. How could I not remember her inability to move?
I’m pulled back into reality when I hear my mom gasp, seeing my mistake. I turn around and walk in. Hurrying to be ahead of both of my parents who walk close to one another trying to silently comfort each other.  As soon as I enter the strong smell of cleaning supplies and dog treats hits my nose making my head hurt more than it did outside. I sit in a chair far in the corner not near the other animals filled with life. My father goes up to the counter and signs us in. Meanwhile my mom who sees me sits near me, not next to me. I need comfort but she knows I take things the best when I have my own space. Knowing I’m not one to hear all the “I’ve gone through the same thing” and the “It’ll get easier” because all that does is make things worse and harder to come back from the tragedy.
With my dog now 12 years in age quietly sitting on my lap, I find myself praying. Praying that I have a couple more minutes with her, that the Veterinarians are over loaded and behind schedule, or that they have to reschedule for some reason. Any reason. My prayers are not answered as I hoped since they seem to come to bring us to one of the small rooms faster than I remember them ever doing.
Following the nurse she tells me to put the dog ono the table and have a seat. I do as she said, putting my pup down but I will not sit down. Both my parents take a seat but no, I decide I will not leave my pup’s side. She always loved me and would never leave me so I couldn’t leave her. My mom touches my arm gently pulling my to take a seat but I jerk away not letting them take me away from her. The nurse was saying something to our family but I was too fixated on the breathing of my loving dog than that of the words of some nurse who will help take my dog away from me. 
I hear the door shut telling me the nurse has left and that the end is coming ever closer. My Mom ends the silence by saying, “You both heard that right?  She won’t be in pain. It’ll just be a few seconds and then gone.” I know my Mom means well but that brings little comfort to me. All it brings is the truth of the quick disappearance from my life that my puppy will face.
Surprisingly my Dad speaks up, “Remember how every time the UPS brown truck would even drive by our house old Miss Bea would bark and not stop till she was sure it was gone.” I chuckled under my breath thinking about the thousands of times that exact event happened, over and over again. And every time my Mom would try to make her stop but it never seemed to work for her. 
Almost as she had read my mind, my Mom laughed while saying, “No matter how many times I yelled at her for barking she seemed to bark a little louder just in spite.”
At that moment the heaviness in the room seemed to have been lifted off of my shoulders and floated away but as fate would have it that only lasted for a split second. The Vet who would take away Miss Bea’s life came into the room with a nurse right behind her carrying all the supplies to take away one small loyal dog’s life away. The Vet looked like one of the doctors you would see on T.V. with her slick black hair and warm brown eye, yet she walked in with the coldness and a look of, let’s just get this done with. The nurse came in with a sharp contrast. Her bright red hair and multitude of freckles gave life in the room. She also was the first to speak asking, “This is now your time for any last goodbyes to Miss Bea. I know she loves you all and that you love her so please do what you need to do.” I immediately looked into the eyes of my loving, strong, loyal dog, Miss Bea. Her eyes seemed to light up letting my know she understood it was her time to go. I took one step back and looked at the nurse mentally letting her know it was ok to begin the process.
Then the tears started flowing. Not one by one like before but a sob. There was no stopping it. Which broke my Mom down to the core that she stepped outside and through the thick wooden door you could hear her cries. My Dad sat frozen in his chair just staring and every move the nurse and the Vet made. It looked as if he was trying to stop them from what they were doing but he knew he couldn’t. Me I stood up straight looking at my dog who calmly laid there accepting her fate.
Internally I wanted to scream for them to stop and run away with Miss Bea in my arms. Yet externally I was able to control myself. Somehow I found one ounce of pure will still in me to control my emotions. Then the vet said it was time. She lifted the syringe stuck it in and pushed letting all the solution go into Miss Bea. I saw the last glimmer of her eye before she was gone. Asleep. Dead.
The nurse then moved to escort us out. I turned around when I saw my Mother had snuck back in without my knowledge. Gratefully that gave me comfort, giving me the ability to believe that my family would understand how the life in my dog disappeared right before our eyes. I lead my family out of the room my dad then put in my hands the car keys. So as my Mom my and dad finished business with the Veterinary hospital I sat in the back seat looking down at the place my puppy had sat justs minutes before and all the other times she took a ride in the car.
I took my phone out of my pocket seeing all the texts, snapchats, and emails I had missed while in that terrible room. On most days I would immediately answer all the people seeking my attention but this was not most days. Instead of opening snapchat I pulled up my photos. I scrolled all the way to the top and started looking through all the photos from Miss Bea’s many years as my sidekick.
Scrolling through I saw one of my favorite pictures. You see me laying next to a dark black puppy in a bright pink sweater whose slightly frightened of her new surroundings. Me being 4 at the time and excited I’m surprised my Mom was able to even capture a photo of me with my new best friend. The pure happiness associated with the photo makes me smile through the tears but again as fate would have it, my two somber parents open their car doors right as things seem to start looking up.
The car ride is quite. When we make it home the once lively house the had not just one but two dogs who would jump up and down at your arrival is silent. I head upstairs to my room, wishing it was late enough for me to be able to just got to bed. As if nothing was going my way it was only 4 in the afternoon on a saturday and I would still have to face my family at the dinner table. So I decided to just put my focus on my homework, which proofed to be difficult.
Still I successfully filled up my time till the dreaded call from my Dad came for me to come down for family dinner. I slowly made my way to the dinner table trying to not break down and cry. I sat down at the head of the table between my Mother and Father. This time fate was in our favor cause as we sat around a have warmed up pizza and the sadness of what just hours ago had taken place smiles returned to our faces. Discussions of happiness and joy began to ring through the house shortly plagued with silence. Laughter sounded up to the roof.  We talked about all the good times with the dog that had just left our lives but would never leave our minds.

The author's comments:

This piece strted with my raw emotions and experiences after a time of loss and heartbreak. Unlike what the piece might make it sound like, the piece is inspired by multiple times of loss in my life and applied to something that is easily part of everyone's life. 

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