We Had Chemistry

January 29, 2018
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The boundary of friendship has no limits. Even in death, true friendship still remains. The life of a loved one that is no longer here in our world has changed my life greatly. It taught me that friendship should always be cherished, and no one should be forgotten. I now believe in taking risks; something I never did could result in regret and sorrow. This event has changed my attitude. I live carefree and careful at the same time. It altered my attitude, which is now kind and forgiving, unlike how it used to be. The day that changed my life is September 4th, 2014. The day our red SUV pulled into the veterinary clinic for the last time. Our precious dog, Chemistry Lou, had lived a full life. I carried my deepest regret on that day, and I still hold it in my heart till this day.
My mother met a man long ago named Jon. We now live with him and his family: Allie, Arthur or Art for short, Ben, and Belle. Since Allie, Ben, and Art went to college, it has been lonely. There is only me, my mother, Jon, and Belle in the house. It would feel the same, if Chemistry was still there. We called Chemistry “Chemy,” for short. Chemy was a lab mix, hence the name “Chemistry.”. I had known this dog for almost five years. Now that I come to think about it, this dog had been in a third of my life. Five years. In those five years, we had gone through cancerous tumors, fleas, and ticks. None of those things were what made Chemistry make her final trip. My mother told me that they had picked a date to visit the vet. “We made the appointment for this Thursday. She won’t be suffering anymore,” She told me.

The day of the appointment. Thursday. The day I dreaded to come. I knew that eventually this would happen. I just was not ready for it. I walked through hallways of the school, thinking only one thing: I did not want to go home. I did not want it to happen. My legs moved slowly and without any bounce. I thought that maybe if I disappeared for a day or two, they would cancel the appointment. I knew that was selfish. I do not know whether they would have done it anyway, just to help put her out of her misery. I knew that I was being incredibly selfish, but I regretted so much of how I spent those years with Chemy. My legs felt like bricks, trudging through the hallways. I looked down at the ground and thought of the dreadful appointment that would ensue by the end of the day. We had the choice to help her or to help ourselves. Hopefully, we made the right choice.

The time arrived when the final bell rang for school. I was reluctant to get out of my seat. I hesitated to get to the bus. I walked ever so slowly, hoping that if I walked slow enough, the bus would go without me. I  made it to the bus, shocked and scared. I sat alone and pondered what I was going to do when I got home. The hour long bus ride went by fast, and soon I was at the front door. Everyone was outside. Chemy was laying in the flowerbed in the front of the house. I heard Belle say something about giving Chemy steak for her last meal, but Jon replied saying that they should not go in on a full stomach. Chemy was laying in the leaves and weeds of the dark flowerbed, panting happily and enjoying the attention. There were no words said after that. All five of us sat there, petting Chemy’s soft fur for the last time. Chemistry looked happy. Happy for once in the last couple months of her life. The word finally came, and we picked Chemy up and piled silently into the car.

Chemy’s back legs had failed her, and she could no longer stand on her own. Her legs are what led to her health failing. Chemistry could not get up in the middle of the night to go outside to go to the bathroom. She spent hours barking on school nights just for attention, food, water, or the need to go outside. We set Chemy in the back of our SUV and climbed in without a word said. I do not know when, but at some point I had started crying. We slowly pulled out of the driveway and onto the street. The car was filled with sorrow, and the sound of sniffling and small breaths cursed the air. Belle had gotten into the back of the car with Chemy and was petting her head slowly, her face twisted with tears and agony. Art had also turned around in the back seat and was petting Chemy’s back. I sat there, motionless, for we all knew what would happen in the next half hour. The tears rolling down my cheeks were not forgotten, and they only got worse from there on in.

Our car pulled into the parking lot at the veterinary clinic, and the engine was turned off. No one moved a muscle. The only sound was from the back of the car, where Chemy was panting as dogs do. I suggested that we might call Ben, who had left for college the week before. Ben had already said ahead of time that there was no need to do that. After that, everyone unwillingly got out of the car and opened the trunk. The staff at the clinic were waiting outside with a stretcher. We helped them carry Chemy into a side door to the left of the building. The nurses had seen our faces and had seen Chemy. They said that they could tell that there was love in our family. Chemy was set down in a small room, which had one couch, a counter, and a table. A man was waiting inside for us with a small box in his hand. He put the box down onto the counter and leaned down to look at Chemy. He pat her head and looked at her right paw, where the needle would be inserted.

I was leaned forward on the couch, just out of reach of Chemy. Belle was sitting in front of me, and Art was standing behind my mother and Jon. The vet took out a razor and began to shave off some of Chemy’s fur. A low growl was met with the hum of the razor. “She’s a protective dog, isn’t she?” The vet said. We nodded in agreement, and I heard a sorrowful chuckle. Silence was met at the sound of the razor being turned off. The vet mumbled something that I could not understand and took the box from the counter. He opened it and there inside was a small syringe and a bottle. The vet took out the syringe and drew some of the liquid in the bottle out. The vet kneeled down onto one knee and took Chemy’s paw into his hand. I knew what was going to happen next, so I looked away. My fear of needles was already unreasonably unbearable, and I could not stand the sight of them. I closed my eyes and heard the choke from Belle, who had been petting Chemy the entire time.
I looked back, and the vet was now holding Chemy’s paw and trying to reassure us by saying things like “She’s not in pain anymore,” “She’s better off this way.” Of course, we paid no attention to him and proceeded to watch Chemistry take her last breath. I looked around at the faces in the room. Each one was filled with tears and gaping mouths. I looked at Arthur, who was standing up, holding himself. I had only seen him cry once in the five years that I knew him, and that was when it happened. I looked back at Chemy, where her head was laid on the ground and her mouth was open. Her body lay motionless on the blanket that had been placed on the floor. Belle was holding Chemy’s fur on the top of her head, while covering her own mouth with her other hand. Chemy suddenly took a breath and sighed. Belle gasped in shock and looked longingly down at Chemy. The vet explained that that was one of the side effects of the “medicine.”

Chemistry gasped two more times, and then she was gone. Her body lay motionless and relaxed on the top of the blanket. The vet left the room to give our family some privacy for the sight we had just seen. We all said nothing, instead, we sat there with the body of an animal we loved. Arthur was the first to leave the room. Then my mother and Jon after her. Belle unsteadily stood up and pat Chemistry one more time, grabbed a tissue, and then left the room. I pulled myself from the couch and onto my knees by Chemy’s side. I hesitantly put both of my hands on her back and felt her fur for one last time. I gave in to my sorrow and hugged Chemy’s body. I wailed and I wept, and I asked myself why did it have to end this way. Although I had known Chemy the least amount of time out of all of us, I thought I was the most saddened by her death. I regretted everything. I regretted that I had not spent enough time with her and did not come when she barked. I wanted to feel her head rest on my lap one more time, but that could not be done. Her body was still warm. I became delirious and shook her body many times, asking her to come back. I realized how desperate and helpless I felt and regained my composure.
I was the last to exit the room. I left out the side door of the building and walked towards the car. Again, we piled into the car in silence. I had stopped crying, although I still felt the need to cry. I had cried too much, and I could not cry any longer. We arrived at our house and went our separate ways for the night. I stayed in my room for the rest of the day. When it became night, I could not sleep. I quietly snuck out of my room, downstairs, and out of the house. I went through our backyard and our driveway to reach the flower bed we had sat before the appointment. I stared at it for a moment, and then I collapsed on my knees, sobbing. I wanted to scream; I wanted to yell. I was upset that I had done nothing to prevent this. I do not know how long I stayed there, but the clock was far too blurry to recognize when I went back into the house. I went back to school the next day, hopeless and miserable.

I had changed. My life had truly been changed by this wonderful dog. Looking back to how I was then, I was heartbroken and pathetic, not that losing a pet was not heartbreaking. The day after, the day I went back to school, I shut everyone out. I thought that to avoid getting hurt, that I couldn’t let anyone inside my head, inside my heart. The rest of the year, I was cruel and ignoring to those around me, each moment regretting what I did. I would glare at people in the hallway, I would be rude and insult my peers; I ignored everyone that I wasn’t already friends with. Little did I realize that I was hurting more, and I was pushing people away that were only trying to be nice. If I had not changed who I was in the past, I would have pushed away so many unbreakable friendships that I’ve made this year. Today, I understand that taking risks and getting to know people is the way of life. I can’t live life without taking risks, and I need friends to be there while I take those risks. After shoving people away for a year, I realized that I needed to change my attitude for the better. Not just for everyone else’s sake, but for mine too. I was only getting more hurt and depressed in isolating myself than I was getting to know people. Now I understand that it is much easier to go from being nice to being cruel; it’s much more difficult to go from cruel to being nice. Shutting people out always affects oneself more than it affects others.

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