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16 years with Cassie
"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."
-Roger Caras, Animal rights activist
I remember my dog Cassie at a young age. In the summer she would sit at the highest point of my back yard, and gaze upon my brother and I while we played. She was a part of the family, my parents called her “There first child.” She was an extraordinary dog. She unlike other dog grazed at her food she never wanted to eat it all at once. She never needed an electric fence, she knew better than to leave the property, to leave us. We couldn’t take her on walks though like other dogs. When she was just a puppy she got hit by a car and was near death. She lived though, but her foot was never the same. It was to sensitive to walk on pavement. Her middle name was Oprah. How many dogs have Oprah as a middle name? She was a husky and had never ending thick fur.
My dog Cassie was unlike any other.
It was a dark rainy Friday. I leapt off the bus and sprinted in my house trying not to get wet. I got in my house and had a snack. It was unusually quiet. Where was my mom? Where was my brother? Where was Cassie? My Mom and my youngest brother Brendan came down into the kitchen.
“Hi Care, how was school?” My Mom asked right away.
“Good, I guess.”I mumbled. My mom never asked how school was. She usually had my brother to worry about.
“Dad came home early to take Cassie to the vet.”She sputtered quickly.
“Is she okay?”I asked. She went to the vet a couple months ago to get a check up. The next one wasn’t due for a while. So why was she going now?
“She wasn’t herself today. She had a seizure.” My mom said pronouncing every word carefully and slowly.
“Oh alright. I’ll be down the basement.”I practically whispered. Did she just say seizure? Is she sure? Is she going to be alright? I had tons of thoughts running through my head but I refused to ask them because I didn’t want them answered.
I heard the twisting of a door knob. I heard a clink then something drop.
“Umm Caroline?”My brother called down
“What?” I snapped. I didn’t want to talk to any one, at the moment.
“The door knob broke… it fell off. You’re stuck in the basement.”He yelled through the door.
Whatever, I thought. This was actually nice. I was alone in my basement with no one bothering me. It could be worse.
“Caroline? I’m leaving to drive Andrew. Will you be okay down there? I will get you out when we get back.” My mom yelled down.
“Alright Mom.” I yelled back.
The phone rang loudly it was my Dad.
“Hey Care it’s me, Dad.” He said glumly.
“How is Cassie?” I asked urgently.
“Where’s Mom I need to talk to her?” He said completely ignoring my question.
“She is out.” I said simply.
“How is Cassie?” I tried again.
“We’ll talk when I get home.” He sounded worn out and depressed.
I didn’t know what to say.
“Bye” He said softly.
“Bye” I whispered so I almost couldn’t here my own voice.
I pressed my eyelids together tightly. I knew….I knew. I could tell by the way my Dad spoke. She was gone. My dog, my Cassie was not okay. I clasped my clammy hand around the phone and hung it up. I couldn’t believe it. It happened so fast. Tears flowed down my face. She was 16 and constantly had accidents. She couldn’t walk up the stairs. I never said good bye. Here I was alone, locked in my basement crying. I missed my dog.
That was the day Cassie died. She was in so much pain the vet told my Dad we should put her to sleep. She died in my fathers arms. My father came home that day close to tears. I was a disaster that day. I missed her barking when someone knocked on the door. I missed her sitting with me on Sunday mornings when everyone else was to busy. I missed her constant need for attention. I missed her.
Even though Cassie is gone I still remember her. She was part of my child hood. She lived a long happy life. She was always around someone that loved her.
I loved Cassie, Cassie loved me.