I remember the first day and last day the best, everything else is a blur of white fur. My parents and brothers came to pick me up from my grandma’s one evening after being at a birthday party of a little boy who had severe cerebral palsey. I opted out of going to the party because the previous year this little boy’s older brother decided to take me out on a little adventure which involved me getting lost in the woods. We trudged through the woods for hours, he knew his way back but I didn’t. He made me carry “dinosaur bones”, basically any old bones he could find, back to his house. If I didn’t carry those bones, I didn’t go home type of arrangement. Needless to say, I stayed at grandma’s house the next year. Mark came in the house to get me exclaiming that we now have our first dog. I didn’t believe him at first. It was dark out when I peeked into the car. Sure enough there was a big white dog in there. She was a stray named Whitey. The friendliest dog ever.
The last day started like any other. It was a Saturday. I volunteered with grandma, Aunt Grace, and a few other older church ladies at the thrift shop. They always had me running the cash register. I don’t know why because I was only 13. Grandma said that if anyone wanted me to take their items out to their car for them that I needed to have her do it. Something about that not being very safe even though I was old enough to run the cash register.
There was a problem with the dog when I got home. She was having a hard time going on her daily walk with mom. Mom said that Whitey probably drank the milk she set out for the cats. Her fur was matted up on her backside and she couldn’t go to the bathroom easily. Mom gave her a bath and trimmed her fur but she did not get better. Mom and I took her to the vet. The x-Ray showed that her intestine twisted. At this time, we made a horrible mistake by taking our dog back home.
Afternoon turned towards evening with no improvement. During this time, I received a call from a girl named Ann who was a homeschooled. (This happened during our three years of being home bound after Matt got kicked out of school for his violent autistic behavior). Ann called to tell me about her trip to Australia that they just got back from. Sorry, gotta go, my dog is dying here. Can’t hear about your wonderful vacation. My mom, brothers, and I sat next to Whitey for the next several hours. Dad checked out and was watching TV. I am going to spare you the details here, but trust me when I tell you that my dog died an extremely painful death that lasted over the span of several hours. A couple of hours in my mom asked me if she should call the neighbor over to shoot our dog. I said, “Absolutely not!” This was a man who shot his cute little Beagle puppy for chasing his chickens. This type of logic is exactly why you do not ask a 13 year old to help make major decisions in the family!
After several more hours and after mom called the emergency vet services to see if there was surgery or anything else we could do, my dog died. I still have her collar in my jewelry drawer today. I still feel pained that I made the wrong decision if I really think about it. I still feel angry that I had to make a lot of adult decisions as a child that I wasn’t ready to make.
The next morning as mom and I left for church, I saw Whitey laying on the front lawn. The wind was gently blowing her fur. I imagined that she was sleeping and that none of this really happened. I did that a lot as a kid, pretending that painful things didn’t happen.