This is not another dog story. This is my dog story, the story of a Beagle German Shepherd Mix who graced the world with his presence. And this Beagle Shepherd held much more significance than your typical furry friend. At least to me he did.
A dreary Sunday in April was when my world ended. I was eleven. Bear has been hurting for quite some time; he is completely blind in his right eye, completely deaf, and his hips get worse everyday. My family decided not to do anything about it because we thought it was just old age. Looking back sometimes I just can’t help but think that maybe Bear could have lived for a couple more years if we had only helped.
That morning, my parents come into my room. I wonder why, as they never both come and talk to me unless something bad has happened. As they sit down on my bed, my stomach starts to sink with dreadful anticipation. Before I had a chance to say anything, my mom gets right to the point.
“Bear is doing worse. He keeps falling over and he hasn’t been eating the past few days.” At first I met this with silence, trying to find words to somehow comfort my parents and myself. I finally muttered a word “Oh.” I couldn’t think of anything to say that could shine some light on the situation and my parents seemed to understand.
“Ashlyn, we’re putting him down tomorrow.” my dad said quietly. I could hear the choked back tears in my dad’s voice, but couldn’t register what I was hearing. My mind went numb with complete dread. My puppy, my friend, the only thing that had kept me strong through the darkest times; he was dying. Soon he would be gone. And my mind refused to accept it.
“Oh,” I said lamely for what felt like the millionth time. “Do you want to come?” asked my mom. I paused a moment. I wanted to be there for Bear as he had always been for me. As hard as it would be for me to cope with the situation, I wanted to spend any time I could with him. “If you don’t want to come, you should spend time with Bear before – ” I interrupt my mom, “Yes, I’ll be there,” I didn’t want to hear the words she was about to say.
“Okay, we will leave you alone for a while,” my mom said as tears start to fall from her eyes. As soon as they left, the reality of what was happening crashed around my ears. I felt the tears starting to come as my throat closed. I was sobbing and nursing a numbing pain that no amount of tears could express all night.
It has been 3 years since I lost Bear. My dog, my friend, my family. Time has helped ease the pain, like a scab forming over the wound. I try my best to reflect on the situation with a positive view. But everytime I reflect, I always ask myself the same question, ‘What if I could’ve helped?’ One year ago I realized that there was a way to help. I can make it my new goal to help other animals by becoming a veterinarian in the future. I can’t help my aching hole in my heart, but I can prevent other pet owners from getting that pain of losing someone they love.