One of the most horrifying things imaginable, at least for me, is the tragic and/or sudden passing of a pet. My 13 year old pup has been in declining health for the better part of 3 years – so I’ve had time to “prepare” for her sooner rather than later passing. When it’s finally her time, my sadness won’t be diminished by any degree simply because I have been preparing myself for it for a good while – but there won’t be that feeling of terror mixed with shock mixed with gut-wrenching devastation that comes with, well, any “other kind” of pet death. Most unfortunately, one of my recent experiences has to do with that other kind of death – the terribly tragic and shockingly sudden passing of a friend’s dog. A dog that was young, sweet, friendly, gentle, affectionate and….rescued.
It was a Thursday afternoon, and I was in my usual spot in front of my laptop. The semi-silence was broken by blood curdling screams, sounds that made my heart skip 100 beats while my legs raced me to the front window so that I could see what the hell was going on. I could only see a partial view of my neighbor, Laura, running across the street while yelling something I couldn’t quite make out. By this time, several neighbors had also come outside to see what was happening. I stood in the middle of street trying to make sense of what Laura was saying, when it hit me. MAX. Something had happened to Max – she was screaming that Max was dead. But how? Where was he? Why was she saying he got stuck somewhere? What did that mean? I ran into her house to find Max on the floor, surrounded by potato chip pieces and a bag. I kneeled over Max, panicked and crying, trying to figure out what I was seeing. Did he actually suffocate in a potato chip bag??!! In a house that is puppy proofed to the extreme and kept spotless??
It seemed like an eternity passed as I stared into his eyes, while I pushed on his chest and yelled at him to get up . This CANNOT be happening. My brain now knew what I was seeing but the rest of me absolutely refused to believe it. I screamed inside while Laura screamed outside, collapsed on the sidewalk. I knew he was gone, but still thought for a split second that maybe he could be revived. Maybe he hadn’t been gone for that long… maybe there was a chance this sweet boy wasn’t really gone forever.
A neighbor called the nearest Vet Clinic (Ansley) to tell them what happened and that I was on my way with Max. She helped me wrap him in a blanket and get him into my car and I sped – while I wailed – all the way there. I walked into Ansley Animal Hospital and one look at me told them exactly who I was and why I was there. I was still holding onto one droplet of hope that Max could be revived, because how was Laura going to get through this? Max is her life! This is a girl who puts her beloved pet above anything else. This is a girl who has neighbors check in on Max if she is going to be gone from the house for more than a few hours. This is a girl who would sell her house to care for Max, if need be. This is a girl who didn’t deserve to have her pup taken from her at all – much less in such a tragic, freak way. While I stood around crying in between mutters of “no no no no no…,” the compassionate staff of Ansley knew just what to do with Max, and my hysterical self. Sadly, I drove home with an empty blanket and a grieving heart.
For the next week, Laura and I would sit in her house together and just cry. No words were needed, or even wanted, just the company of someone else who could understand the devastation and profound sadness of the situation. Every once in awhile while we sat together crying, Laura would think out loud, “why, why, why…” and the only thing I could think of, was that God needed another angel in Heaven.
in loving memory of Max, 12/2008 – 11/2010