As I sat in the car holding my dying dog, I couldn’t feel much physically. What I did feel emotionally, well, it was intense.
My Nana was driving us to the closest animal hospital as fast as she could, and I was holding on to my puppy, my baby. The drive took close to forty-five minutes, and it felt like an eternity. Her anguished cries sounded out through the car, and I felt them in every fiber of my being.
Her muscles were pulled tight, and her teeth were clenched as waves of pain pushed her further and further away from me. I was feeling my own pain in addition to every bit of hers Her screams— there is no better way to describe the cries of absolute agony than to say they were screams— were deafening and heart-wrenching.
She started shaking, and I realized that my hands were clenched so tight around the blanket holding her that my knuckles were pure white. Her eyes were closed, and my own eyes were full of tears. I didn’t feel the seat belt pressing hard against my neck, but later that night I could see the mark it left on my skin.
I was giving my Nana directions while clutching my dog to my chest. Fear and anxiety for what was to come rolled over me as we rushed into the animal hospital. The lady at the front desk took her from my arms, and I filled out the paperwork with shaking hands. By the time I got to the bottom of the page, my teardrops were scattered across the majority of it.
We were called into Room 3 at 6:48 to wait for the vet. I remember checking the clock every few minutes. My Nana had her hand on mine as we cried together. She kept handing me tissues. Meanwhile, we could hear my baby crying out in pain in the Employees Only area.
Around 7:30, the same lady from the front desk brought in my puppy. She offered me a few minutes alone to say goodbye and I gladly accepted the time. Thirty minutes later, the vet entered the room. I was an absolute mess. I had been wearing makeup and a nice outfit that morning, but by then I looked like I had just washed up on a beach. My hair felt grungy, I was sweating, my makeup streaked across my face, and I couldn’t stop shaking.
The vet did her job and left us alone with her body. I started crying again, and slipped her collar off. With that, Nana and I loaded her box into the truck and drove home.
It has been a year since I lost my dog. I now have another puppy, and her name is Scooter. I have learned that life goes on, even after the loss of someone you hold close to your heart. Death is heartbreaking. Every once in a while, I will feel the ache of the aging wound. Time is healing me, slowly, but I will never forget my first dog.