It all started on November 6, 2010. It was my seventh birthday party. I was having an animal themed party. My friends and I had just done presents and were about to go have dessert. For dessert, my mom made two different cakes. One was a chocolate black cat, and the other was a yellow cocker spaniel cake. Right before we went in the kitchen for the cake though, my dad exclaimed that he had to go outside and quickly grab one last gift. Suddenly, my dad opened the front door and walked in carrying the sweetest little cocker spaniel. I was overwhelmed with feelings of thrill, excitement, and amazement! It was a complete surprise to receive a dog for my birthday! The cocker spaniel was pre-owned, and was seven years old too! We decided that his birthday would be celebrated on mine from now on. He was named Chip from his previous owners, and I was as in love with him! Anatole France said, “Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” (“A quote by Anatole France” Goodreads. ) To me, this is complete truth!
Whenever we took him to the doctors for check-ups, the doctors would be stunned by his health! Almost everytime we picked him up, the doctors would declare, “he is the healthiest cocker spaniel we have ever seen of his age!” Not only was my dog known for his exceptionally good health, he was also the most fantastically behaved dog I had ever met! He only ever barked in the first few years we owned him when someone would ring the doorbell, but after a few years that weared off. He never bit anyone! He would constantly be pinched, hugged, and teased by my younger sister in the first few years we had him, but he never showed any form of rudeness towards her! He just let her do what she wanted and had such outstanding patience and love for her.
He was playfull when he wanted to be, but no one would ever consider him a rowdy dog! Through the years, he kept up this angelic act and never lost it! In conclusion, he was almost as close to perfect as could be!
Flash forward about 7 years. Chip and I are now 14 years old. Chip is still extremely healthy, but is very old now. He is losing hearing and has very little energy. It was Christmas break, and my family left to DisneyLand for a family vacation. While we were gone, we left Chip at a pet hotel. DisneyLand was a dream as expected, and we took very little thought on Chip while we were gone, trusting that he was in good care. He must have felt like Odysseus’ men when they were held captive by Circe in her dungeon, or perhaps like Odysseus himself when he was held captive by the Cyclops along with many others. In the Odyssey by Homer, Odysseus expresses how much he misses his home when he says, “each day I long for home, long for the sight of home….” (Elements of Literature, pg. 654) Chip had no way to escape, all he could do was wait for the day when we come to bring him home once again. When we returned from DisneyLand, it was late on a Saturday night, but we couldn’t pick him up until Monday, because of store hours and policy.
When we picked him up, he was limping and had a little bit drool hanging from his mouth. This was shocking for us, because he never had health problems and never drooled. We kind of just shook it off at first though and figured that it was just a phase that would end soon. It didn’t end though. He continued to limp and his drool got worse. We attempted to wipe his drool, but whenever we did, he would wince. He began to starve because of the pain he felt in his mouth. His food was too hard to chew, and so he wouldn’t eat due to the pain he would feel from attempting to chew his food. Seeing that this was not normal, we decided to take him to some pet doctors to determine what was wrong and what we needed to do to help him.
The doctors told us that he had a disease that basically meant he was allergic to his gums. They removed about 6-10 teeth, and prescribed him with an antibiotic to fight off the infection. They told us to give him watered down canned food, because it would be easier for him to chew. The doctors also informed us that the fact that he was limping had no connection whatsoever to the disease, which means he was probably injured at the pet hotel, and the limping should end soon. We couldn’t believe this and we vowed never to take our pet to that pet hotel again! When his limping ended, he eventually was able to run and go up staircases again. While he was on his antibiotics, his drooling stopped almost completely! It seemed like there was hope at last! But once we ran out of his prescription, the drooling came back, and was even worse! “Seeing someone you love in pain is the most frustrating feeling.” ( Tacoma. Whisper. ) Not only was he drooling, but he was drooling blood! He stopped eating again and was losing weight rapidly. Due to the lack of fat on his body, he was always cold and would shiver and shake. He began to have bowel issues as well. Even his personality was noticeably different! Often times he could be found isolating himself from the family. When we were in the living room, he would go to my sisters room and just lay on her bed. When we were in the kitchen, he would mope in the piano room. He wouldn’t run like he used to. His hearing was worsening by the days. He was growing white and anyone would agree that he was going overhill.
We bought him more prescription, pulled more teeth, and the results just repeated. He was fine while on the antibiotics, but once off he was back to his miserable life. My parents took him from one pet specialist to the next, looking for answers to this giant issue that had spiralled out of control. The doctors and my parents came to the conclusion that he would either live the rest of his life (which wouldn’t be too long anyway, seeing that he was 14) in pain and on antibiotics, or that we put him down and thus end his pain. When my parents shared the news with me, I was devastated. I felt similar to how Penelope must’ve felt when her husband was gone for a decade and wondered if he had died, but tried to have hope that he didn’t. The only difference was, I had no hope. I knew that my dog’s life was coming to an end and there was nothing I could do to stop that.
“You have to accept that some chapters in our lives have to close without closure. There’s no point in losing yourself by trying to fix what’s meant to stay broken.” (“Quotes About Losing Hope” QUOTES HOPE. ) I realized that I had very little pictures of Chip and that if I was going to remember him properly, I needed some pictures of and with him. It was a struggle trying to take pictures with and of him though. First of all, he was never very photogenic and never liked us to take pictures of him. On top of that, he was gravely ill, had permanent blood and drool staining his muzzle, and looked just depressing. Nonetheless, we still took pictures. We took him outside late one night and Lucy (my six year old sister), my mother, and I began posing with him. He squirmed and fought as always, so we didn’t actually get desired-looking pictures with him, but I was still glad we did it. We also took some of just him when we went inside.
The day finally rolled around that we scheduled to put him down. It was a Monday morning, and I did not want to go to school. I wanted to go with my parents to the pet place to put him down and skip school that day because school sucks and I wanted to spend every last minute with him that I could. My parents wouldn’t allow me to though. They told me that it would be a lot easier on me if I didn’t see him go and if it happened while I was at school. Because mother knows best, I reluctantly went to school that day. When I got home, my mother found my sisters and I, and asked if she could talk with us in the bathroom. She told us that Chip was officially put down, and that’s when we lost it. I felt as Romeo did when Juliet died. “Death lies on her like an untimely frost upon the sweetest flower of all the field.” (“Romeo and Juliet Act 4, Scene 5 Quotes Page 1. Shmoop.)
Eliza (my 11 year old sister), Lucy, my mom, and I stood there hugging each other and bawling for probably an hour. My mother didn’t want us to become depressed though, and so she somehow changed the subject. Only after about thirty seconds, Lucy was cheerful once again, unlike Eliza and I. Chip was closer to our hearts than probably anyone else’s in our family, and we lost him. He was gone. We were able to stop the tears for a few hours though, and bleakly carried on. It was hard getting over the loss of our pet. My mother knew this, and she did all she could to lessen the pain we felt. She ordered all three girls cocker spaniel stuffed animals and an ornament with chip’s actual footprint on it. She also gave just me a little statue of an angel hugging a puppy that resembled Chip and said something like, “Chip, you left paw prints in our heart.” The gifts meant so much to me and I put the decorations on my dresser, and the stuffed animal on my bed in memory of him.
I tried to keep a positive outlook on what had happened though. Some days were a lot easier than others. My parents conducted a Family Home Evening on resurrection and the afterlife, and it brought a lot more comfort inside of our home.
Believe it or not, it didn’t take very long for my sisters to move on afterward. They began asking for a new dog almost daily. I was a faithful as Penelope was to Odysseus, and I was not ready to move on. In Loyalty in the Odyssey, it reads, “Penelope told the suitors she would marry one of them once she finished the shroud for Laertes, yet the text said, ‘So every day she wove of the great loom-but every night she unwove it; and so for the three years she deceived the Ahkaians.’ (p. 22). The trick she used to distract the suitors shows her loyalty to her husband.” (Curtis, Christen. “Loyalty in the Odyssey.” Study Guides and Book Summaries.) Therefore, how could I be ready to welcome a new dog into my home a week after the only one I had ever had left? Honestly, how much do you really love your dog if a week after you want a new one?
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