My Secret

June 11, 2010
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My dog died. He meant a lot to me. Yeah, he was old. Yeah, he was epileptic. Yeah, one of his legs had arthritis and cataracts clouded his eyes. Yeah, he was just a five pound Chihuahua with weak, weezy lungs, and a strong heart. But none of these killed him.

My mum, Levecke, she went away for the long weekend. Canada, to visit my extended family. Wally, our dog, meant everything to us. He was all we seemed to talk about for years. Whenever we were sad, happy, mad, or just bored. My dad, Charlie, and my older sister did not share our devotion. It felt like my mum and I’s little secret. I knew we meant everything to Wally too. So when my mum left for just four days, Wally changed a bit. He was coughing a lot, and…he was slower. He should have pranced over, but he just kind of waddled apathetically. He sat in his basket by the door, waiting for her to come home. And by the time she did, I think it was too late.

I remember. Sitting in my 5th period language arts class. We were writing about people that meant a lot to us. I wrote about Wally. It was then that I got the white slip of paper from the attendance office. It said my mum was here to pick me up. But why? All the way to the office, up the stairs, through the halls, past the lunchroom, I wondered. By the time I saw her standing outside the main office crying, looking more vulnerable than my mother should, I knew. Wally was sick. But I didn’t know the full extent.

We were now crying in each other’s arms. Wally was in the car with my sister, she said. We were on our way to pick up Charlie. Wally had to be put “to sleep” she said. Another burst hit me and I was bawling now. In the car, my sister was holding him crying, that’s not right. She didn’t love him. Not like I did.

My mum and I went to the vet. He had water in his lungs or something else I didn’t understand medically. He could die slowly and painfully or quick and easy. I wanted the first for a second, just so he would stay with me longer. But that wasn’t fair.

I held Wally while he died. Our secret was gone. And he wasn’t coming back. It felt cliché to think and feel all these things, but I guess that’s when I realized he was the first person who died that ever meant so much to me. I loved him all the time and wrote about him a lot too. I wrote a science paper on Phenobarbital, his medicine, for science class. I wrote about him in language arts. And now, a year later, I’ve decided it’s time for you to read about him.





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