A Broken Heart Exposed

In Mind, Body & Spirit, Pushing Forward by Marelise Prinsloo Jacob

I have been trying to get a certain emotion out of my system, and I guess tonight is as good a time as any. This emotion is called grief, and perhaps for some people this would seem somewhat over exaggerated, but to me it is still a very real thing.

When I was twelve years old in 7th grade, my mother and I drove to the SPCA to buy a new dog, since my previous one had been attacked by other dogs and had died.

When we arrived at the SPCA, my mother told them we wanted only to see the puppies. So there they were, the cutest arrangement of puppies you have ever seen, but one rather crazy looking dog jumped out and right on top of me. My mother joked and said it was a sign, so she was the one we ended up taking home.

In the following weeks and even months, I regretted choosing her, she was wild and uncontrollable, I even considered taking her back to the SPCA. But as time went by, we got used to each other, and even though she behaved like a hooligan sometimes, everybody came to love her completely.

I started high school and finished it, all the while she was there waiting for me at the gate when I got home, her curly tail swinging wildly from one side to the other. I lost myself a little after school, drinking too much and not really knowing what the future had in store. But even so, she was there, sleeping on my bed at night and keeping watch over me by day.

I got my life

in order and started college, realizing I was much more than I thought I was. The other dogs of the family grew older and died, but my dog never seemed to get a day older, doing the same silly things she did when she was younger.

I fell in love and was kissed passionately by the man I thought I loved, had my heart broken and fell in love again. I felt my heart fill with guilt every time I left the house with my boyfriend, leaving her watching me at the gate. I spent more and more time with my boyfriend, I suppose I didn’t see the change in her, or didn’t want to see it.

She had become tired and listless, her curly tail barely wagging at the gate – but still wagging none the less. I told myself she was just sick, and once I take her to the vet, they’ll give her some medicine and she’ll be back to her old self again. But then the vet told me it was cancer, causing various complications.

I took her home that day, knowing it was our last together. She didn’t want to eat much, just a little bit of chocolate I gave her. She was too weak to jump on my bed that night, so I made my bed next to her. With my brown blanket over both of us, I didn’t want to fall asleep.

She was the one creature in this world that had been with me through some of the worst and best times in my life. I was always amazed at the happiness she showed when she saw me come back from somewhere.

The next morning I took her to the vet again, we were the first and only ones there, I had the luxury of not having to hide my tears. I took off her collar and kissed her goodbye. The doctor gave the injection, and she died in my arms. I didn’t realize I would miss her this much.

Thank you letting me grieve her. I could say I miss her more because I am disabled and disabled people have a closer bond with their pets. Perhaps I could say because she looked after me and stayed with me when I will ill, that is why I miss her still.

But the truth is, even though she was an animal, she was my friend. A friend I had loved very much, one that I will remember for as long as I live.