Jun 9, 2011

Sparky

It’s June 8th, 2011; today, my dog died. It was unexpected but in a way I expected it to happen sooner or later. His name was Sparky, and he was a shiny Labrador; I found him when I was six, one night during a soccer practice. His name used to be Yellow, but I thought it downplayed his true feature, so I called him Sparky, because he was shiny and bright. For sixteen years I have been with Sparky, and now our paths have parted.

For a while, I have always contemplated how I would face death. Would I cry? Would I be ashamed of crying? But instead, I felt a sense of dread and fear that I would be apathetic and insensitive to death, especially to the death of my dog, and the future death of my very old great grandmother. Today, I came home from school to be told by my father that Sparky would be put asleep tomorrow. Shocked, I looked at my dog and saw that he had a huge hot spot across his thigh; it was hairless, full of blood, and Sparky had trouble standing up. He has hip problems and struggles to get up; he even struggles to eat. I already felt insensitive, as if I could not understand that he was going to die soon. My dog has suffered enough. The rest of the day I spent not thinking about Sparky; I hung out with my girlfriend, got in the pool, and went to church to meet up a couple of people.

When I got home, my parents were carrying the poor dog to my dad’s car. They asked me if I wanted to come and I quickly grabbed my backpack and went with them to a late-night vet hospital. Throughout the ride, I contemplated on why I was so insensitive. Was it because I never really dealt with death before? Was it because I just could not recognize that the end for my dog has come? I was furious with myself; I wanted to feel! I wanted to feel something for Sparky, but nothing was there. 

Later, we were in a blue room, which I felt was dreary because the harsh cold light made it seem sterile and devoid of life. Sparky laid on the ground resting, sometimes trembling, sometimes breathing really fast. It felt like hours sitting there, watching my dog with my parents, waiting for the doctor. As time went by, I began to feel an urge to pet my dog, but I held back. After a while of fighting back my conscious, realizing that this will be the last time I get to pet my dog, I crouch on the ground and pet him. Nearly blind, nearly deaf, and in pain, I wondered if my dog knew I was petting him. It was not even 20 seconds after until the doctor came in; she was a sweet lady who calmly named the process by which Sparky will be put down. Then I began to get teary eyed; after the doctor left to prepare, I continued to massage and pet Sparky. After Sparky was prepped with the IV thingy, which allows passage for the sedative and the killing agent, I watched as an assistant slowly inserted the sedative into Sparky’s front leg. Memories of when I first met Sparky flashed into my mind. All I could think about were the times I would play with him, and when he would jump on the iron gates in my backyard because he was scared of lightning. I would remember how Sparky ran really fast, and how Sparky hated swimming in the pool, and how he used to place his nose underneath my hand because he wanted to be petted or massaged. I was so teary, and then the doctor came in and inserted the killing agent, and I just could not stop looking. I was sniffing and my eyes were welling up as I saw Sparky give his final small breaths. Oh Sparky, how I miss him. When the doctor said she was sorry it had come to this, she left. My mother asked me to pray, and I found it difficult to pray; I stink at praying out loud for a group of people. Eventually my mother finished the prayer in a better way than I could. As we finished, I headed for the bathroom to wash my hands and face, and in the bathroom I could not help but cry into my hands.

On the ride home, it was silent. I asked the Lord to forgive me for my sins against Sparky. How I neglected him many times because I was so stupidly selfish. How I would forget to feed him earlier, how I would see his dirty water bucket and not clean it up immediately, how I would think about spending time with him but instead choosing to play a video game. How could I be so selfish? I am ashamed and disappointed at myself. I wish I could go back and make up for that, and now I cannot. Sparky deserved better and unfortunately, I was not that great of a caretaker. I hope the Lord has given Sparky a new home, and I thank the Lord for giving me such a wonderful companion for the last 16 years.