For school we wrote small moment stories, I’m not a good writer and I do not like it. So, I chose to write about something that had happened resently and the only thing I could think of was, well, this.
The beginning of last summer we found out my dog Riggins had a tumor on his heart. Coming home from being in California I remember that wretched empty house smell that still lingered. But I try not to think about what happened during the rest of the day.
We were just about to leave our house to drive over to my grandma’s (Garma’s) house to pick up our other dog Remi. She had stayed behind while we were gone. My mom thought it would be fun for Riggins if we brought him with us because Garma’s house is our old home.
At Garma’s house I looked over at Riggins at one point, he was silently laying there very still not moving. He had Pale gums. Cold mouth. Lots of fluid in his mouth. This is where the monster first began to rise.
I got down on my stomach lying next to my good boy on that scratchy carpet.
Only barely louder than a whisper I said to him, “You’re a good boy Riggs.” I was trying so hard to keep it together. ”You’re doing the right thing.” Even with my best efforts not to, my voice cracked. “You’re going to be ok.” But I knew that was a lie.
As I laid there with my scared guy, my mom was calling around trying to figure out the situation, coming back after what felt like hours.
“Right now the tumor on his heart is most likely spilling more fluids into the gap that’s between his heart and the heart’s membrane. So Garma and I need to get him into her car and drive to the Veterinarian office, Blue Sky. We’ll move on from there.” Is what my mom had said, so that’s what we did.
Greer and I watched as they slid a towel under Riggs and quickly took him to Garma’s tiny red car. I didn’t know what to do with myself, the monster that had been haunting me those last few weeks was getting bigger and bigger, getting so strong that I was struggling to keep myself at the top.
In the car I can’t recall what happened next, it’s like my memory is blurred by the unshed tears I was battling. I vaguely remember my grandma speeding through a yellow light… but then we were at Blue Sky.
As I got out of the car two nurses suddenly emerge from the building carrying a stretcher. Seeing that stretcher only made the monster grow bigger clawing at my fears working me up little by little every minute.
“Stay out here with Garma” my mom had quickly said. As we waited there I watched all the cars going by, I envied them driving along, going somewhere almost guaranteed to be more peaceful then here. That’s when my mom came back, and I could already guess what she was about to say.
“So, it’s not good,” my heart stopped, “and we have to put him down.” My knees shook. Poor Greer was so scared as she ran to hug my mom, but me? It’s as if I lost myself, the monster had finally broken free, it was my turn to cry. Standing there crying I finally realized how much I needed my good boy. What would I do without my buddy? What would life be like?
I decided to share this with you all because even though it’s been a few months, his death still doesn’t feel real to me. Looking back, when I was growing up I now realize that I was never really scared of anything. I was only scared of losing him, yes that’s right as an eight-year-old I was fretting over the day my dog would die many years from then. Riggins was a part of me, he was a part of everything in my life, and I still turn around and expect him to be there sometimes. So I’m just trying to let the reality of it sink in. But I don’t think it ever will.