Part of the Family

This piece in particular has a very special place in my heart- it allows me to remember how wonderful a pet is to a person in their life. In one of my college composition courses, we were asked to give a narrative of a moment in our lives that we learned something from. I chose this part of my life. 

“A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” -Josh Billings


The look on her face as she lay on the doctor’s table when I walked in is something I will never forget. So fragile to the slightest touch, could shatter her. The painful, glossy look in her eyes as I said my final good-bye to her is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. As the doctor walked in, he asked my family and me if we were ready to put her down. We all nodded our heads with tears in our eyes. The doctor put the needle into Chloe’s leg as we watched our most precious dog pass away.
The cool, September evening was like any other evening down south in Edwardsville, Illinois, as my roommate and I did our laundry in the dorm laundry room. Noticing that I had had a missed call and a voicemail from my sister, I thought it was nothing. I listened to the voicemail, with my sister’s tear-filled voice on the other end saying, “Heather, there is something wrong with Chloe, call me or mom as soon as possible.”
Immediately, I called my mom, with tears in my eyes, holding back the crying I so much wanted to just let out. She told me that Chloe has a tumor in her stomach and that they decided it would be best to put her down that night. I ran as fast as I could out of the laundry room, down the hall, and to my dorm room where my roommate stood asking me what was wrong. I told her what I had found out and she apologized to me and gave me a big hug as I just wept. Tears rolling down my face, I started packing clothes and grabbing my keys to drive back to Springfield to say my good-bye to my dog. I asked my roommate to grab my laundry for me since I could not wait for it to finish being dried. I held my composure as I walked past the front desk of the residence hall. When I got to my car, I began to cry.
The whole drive up, I just cried. When I was on the interstate, about every half hour, my mom would call me to see where I was and how long it would take for me to get there.
I finally arrived at the Animal Emergency Hospital where my sister and dad had taken Chloe earlier that day, because she was not herself. She would lie on my parent’s bed all day and not go outside at all. I remember just the day before I left to head down to campus, that my sister was playing tug-of-war with her and she was as hyper as she could be. That morning, she was not the same. My dad and sister took her to the vet’s office and they took x-rays of her. They found cancer in her stomach and said that we had the choice of doing a risky surgery that she may not live through or to put her down and rid her of the pain. It was a complete shock to all of us; there were no signs. My parents decided the best way to do this was to put her down. When I entered the patient room that Chloe was in, she looked up at me for the last time and managed to hold on until she saw me and I was able to say my good-bye’s to her. My sister was sitting next to her head as Chloe was lying down; telling her how much she loved her. I immediately ran to my mom as she held me tight, crying with me. I walked over to Chloe and said my good-bye, backed away from the table, and turned away as the doctor put in the needle. I turned back to watch my dog take her last breath and enter a world where she did not have to be in pain anymore.
That moment, I realized that in life, anything can happen in an instant and that one incident can change something in your life.

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