Just the way life is

She had wanted a dog as long as she could remember. She had nagged and argued, begged and pleaded. So when they finally agreed it took her a while to realize they were serious.

He was seven weeks old when he arrived, half husky half lab, yellow with the husky’s curly tail, and the cutest puppy ever to exist on planet earth. He grew into the cutest dog on earth. People stopped to admire his uncommon looks and were met by an energetic, people-loving dog with an eager tongue.

He was strong – even the vet commented on his solid bulging muscles, and he could topple a full-grown man if the man was caught off-guard. If he got loose he would effortlessly and tirelessly run off with a husky’s stubborn independence. Catching him was a long and frustrating procedure. But they loved him.

The neighbor boy was afraid of dogs and would sometimes throw rocks or squirt waterguns at him when he was in his pen outside. When they found out about this, they quickly put a stop to the situation – but the damage had been done.

They could do anything to him and he wouldn’t react in any way, other than possibly trying to crawl under the bed when his patience ran out. Like most dogs, he could occasionally nip if a game got too boisterous. But he would never, never hurt them.

His experiences with the neighbor made him afraid of all males, especially boys about ten years of age. His reaction was to nip, and if he got loose he would nip any boy he saw. They took him to a specialized dog trainer and started working intensively with him. But all wounds don’t heal.

And things got worse. Since, despite all precautions, he sometimes slipped out the door, keeping him meant he would have to have a muzzle on at all times. But how could you put a loving, happy, healthy dog – only 2½ years old – to sleep? It wasn’t his fault and it wasn’t theirs. Life just wasn’t fair, she thought and they all thought. But the choice was now between a miserable life or a humane death. Love hurts.

After the heart-breaking goodbye which had followed a yet more heart-breaking decision, she and her dad drove him to the veterinarian’s, clouded in a heavy silence. She wished once again that she could cry. But her tears were locked deep inside.

She had seen the procedure many times from when she volunteered at a vet’s: first a tranquilizer in the rump, and by that time – it took about 15 minutes to work completely – the animal was basically unconscious. Then anesthesia intravenously through a foreleg, and finally the actual poison was injected into the bloodstream. The vet she had worked for used to, about ten seconds after the poison was given, poke the needle into the fleshy muscle of the heart. No movement.

The first shot was given, and he gradually relaxed, first sitting, then laying, and was finally stretched flat out on his side. Together they carried him from the waiting room to one of the examining rooms. Soon he could hardly lift his lids to view the goings-on, and had slipped into dreamland. The last thing he did, before unconsciousness took over for the last time, was to thump his tail against the floor three times. At last her tears came.

~ av christa89 på januari 24, 2008 - 23:33.

10 svar to “Just the way life is”

  1. As this story is quite close to true, I have a hard time looking at it objectively and critically – please help!

    First of all, the title is better than nothing, but just barely.

    I noticed I start a lot of sentences with ”but”, which of course is something to be used sparingly and I’m afraid it makes this seem like a badly-written dramatic story, like something from Reader’s Digest:/

    Suggestions?

  2. It starts out too… boring, usual. We’ve all seen/heard it before. Make it start out more interesting – this would also be an opportunity to write the first few parts a bit differently, usuing a more colorful language.

    The second half is good. Better language, more interesting.

    ”The vet she had worked for used to, about ten seconds after the poison was given, poke the needle into the fleshy muscle of the heart. No movement.

    After the heart-breaking goodbye which had followed a yet more heart-breaking decision, she and her dad drove him to the veterinarians clouded in a heavy silence.”

    This in a way goes from past to present, but also says the same thing. It’s still good that the procedure is explained in advance as a flashback or something, but there’s not a clear enough line between what happened and what has happened. Is the dog already gone?

    In what way is this story close to true?

  3. I moved around some things to help make the end clearer, but can’t figure out how to change the beginning – ideas?

    ”In what way is this story close to true?”
    Actually now I think of it, it is true – I thought I had changed some details for clarity but I must have decided to leave them out instead.

  4. No clue regarding alternative beginnigs. Perhaps it’s not bad at all, but personally I’d have enjoyed a slightly different style.

    I can think of one thing tought: what does makes this story ”better” than other repeats of the past is that there are small but useful phrases not necessarily bringing the story forward, but adding room for reaction and reflection. Two examples: ”love hurts” and ”all wounds don’t heal”. Adding more such ”spaces” creates an excellent contrast to what otherwise becomes a boring ”I did this, she did that”-story. But then again, what do I know?

    ”Actually now I think of it, it is true – I thought I had changed some details for clarity but I must have decided to leave them out instead.”

    Doesn’t really answer my question. When did all this happen? What dog are we talking about? Is it a personal experience or an event belonging to someone else?

  5. Our dog Siisti that was put down in June ’06:

    I do agree the beginning is a bit boring tho.

  6. Aw, that’s so sweet…

    …yet so sad😦

    Makes sense now.

  7. You should change the title, by the way. It may suit a blog post, but not a written ”story”.

  8. Your last comment got into my spam somehow so didn’t see it till now… yes I know I need to change the title! But to what?

  9. what about ‘an unfair death’ or is that too dramatic? Also, I noticed like, Jozzi, the part, (The vet) she had worked for used to,, and think you can leave that part out and it reads more smoothly. something like ’10 secs after the poison was injected, she poked.(or maybe inserted, sounds more cruel somehow).. Also about the trueness of it. The boy’s reason for being mean to the dog is unknown, I think it may have been that the poor boy was also in pain and wanted to cause pain to others since his parents were getting divorced. I think it’s a great story, but I am biasd.🙂

  10. Look at that vet-paragraph again, now with italics – better?

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