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Natassja M

Page history last edited by Natassja 12 years, 6 months ago

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                              10:01 on August 26th

                                             -Natassja Meredith


       When I was four years old, my dad drove my family up to the White Mountains. He and my mother spoke in the front of our old jeep, their tones hushed so that we could not hear. Not that it mattered, really, I don’t think that my four year old mind would have been able to keep the excitement of a new dog in my head for long enough to comprehend what it really meant.


     We arrived at our destination, my excitement for whatever lay ahead nearly bursting out of me. My brother and I were herded out of the car, and sat down on the snow. My mother reached down to fix my jacket, the zipper had caught and it was half unzipped, exposing my small body to the cold.    

     My brother and I became bored, there was what seemed like a lot of waiting, when in reality it was most likely around five minutes. We began to play i-spy, and as usual, it ended in a fight about cheating. My mother ended the fight, and I looked around to realize where we were. My eyes registered a house, average and nothing to worry about in my young eyes. I watched as the door creaked open, my eyes not having time to register the small shape as it blurred out into the snow, a black and yellowish-white fluff-ball picking up speed towards us. It got closer and slowed, suddenly overcome with shyness - the most awkward and adorable puppy that I had ever seen. 


     I watched as he worked up the courage to come closer to my brother's outstretched hand, his eyes searching for some sort of safety. He began to understand that a four year old and a ten year old were not going to hurt him, and he bounded over, his gigantic paws working their way over the snow as he slipped on ice. My father walked out of the average house, a man who seemed unkind following him. He gave the puppy a look of disgust and turned to my father to shake hands. My father in turn seemed disgusted to have to touch this man, but politely took his hand and shook.


     My mother picked the puppy up, and I looked up at her confused. 


     “He’s coming to live with us.” she explained, and I gasped in excitement.  We walked to the car, and my mom put him down between me and my brother. Being young children, we had to name him immediately. A massive amount of common names like Buddy and Spot erupted from out mouths. My parents would shake their heads, occasionally mumbling the word no. I sat, thinking for a minute, and suddenly blurted out the word, 




     I am not sure where this came from, I was four, and my mind was still working in odd ways. So, my dog became Frufus. He grew up to be the perfect dog, and even though he was the runt of the litter and had an under-bite, he was the cutest puppy we had ever seen. His first time in our garage, he was terrified of us. He did not want to leave the garage, but would whimper every time we would be out of his range of sight. My father tried to explain to us that he had been abused and kept in a crate, but I think that only my brother understood exactly what that meant. Finally, he allowed us to take him inside, and when we did he immediately curled up in a corner and dropped off to sleep. He was so exhausted by his anxiousness that he let his guard down to take a nap.


     My clearest, earliest memory of him was his first Christmas, the day that he really began to trust us, and also the day that we gave him his collar. As he grew older, Frufus got bigger and bigger. He would wrestle with my brother and his friends, and he would try to “save” me when I was being picked up by my father. Somehow, he would always end up scratching me trying to pull me away for “harm.”  He did not really realize that by pulling on my clothing, he was only pulling me away instead of attacking the person that was holding me. In all of his ten years, he bit no one; he was always a gentle giant.


     As he got older, he became more mature. He welcomed cats into the family, even a chinchilla that he would allow to sit on his head. He was truly the most behaved and sweetest dog that I had ever met, and as he got older, that grew as well. Soon, where he used to sleep every night became cold, his age no longer allowing him to take the leap up onto the bed. He stopped running around the house, and when his bark boomed through the house, it ended up coming from the ground where he lay.


     He was still in perfect health; he would get up and walk around, visiting each room in turn. That is, until one day when he had trouble getting up. He was a newfoundland landseer, a breed notorious for having hip problems, so in a way we expected this. His front paws scrambled and scratched against the tile, reaching for a grip, and always he would find one, pulling himself up like an old man. 


     One day, he couldn’t get a grip on the slippery tile. We assumed that he would find one, he always had in the past. My father did not know what to do - our dog was on the floor, obviously struggling, but trying to pull him up only made him whimper. My dad put a towel on the ground underneath his feet, and he was able to get up, but he could only stay up for so long. His hips began to get worse, he could not stand the pain of pulling himself up every time. My dog  would begin to stay away from certain portions of my house - he would only enter my room if I was in there because the left hand turn out was too hard on his hips. He began to stick to laying down in the middle of the hallway where he had easy access to any area of the house. 


     Even still, our dog was active enough. He loved everyone, and when we would leave the house we would call out a, “Bye, Frufus!”, along with our shouts of “I’m leaving!”. He would sleep in everyone's rooms in turn, even though his bed was only kept in one. We realized that his hips were failing him in major ways when he stopped running to the door when we would arrive home. Instead of being greeted by a happy dog, we would find him lying in the kitchen, waiting for us to come to greet him. 


     It was sudden when his health started to truly decline, a day passed by and suddenly he could not get up at all. My dad lifted him, and he slowly walked past, but abruptly collapsed, his hips having gone out on him. I cried out, sitting next to him to rub his ears, and he just looked away - ashamed and embarrassed of this show of weakness. We had hoped that this would pass - was it possible that he was just tired or had banged his leg against a counter? I sat with him until late that night, rubbing his ears and feeding him treats. I had to go to sleep, so I kissed his head and left, and when I looked back, his eyes looked back at me, already so filled with sorrow and pain that it broke my heart. 


     The next morning, he got even worse. The Frufus that I had grown up with had disappeared, a depression enveloping his whole being. That day while I was at school my dad had found him hiding behind the house. How he had gotten up the strength, we do not know, but I did know that dogs hide from their family when they want to die, and I was afraid that that was what he had been trying to do. My father and I tried to bring him left over steak as a treat, but no matter how hard he tried, he could not get up. My father and I sat with him in the darkness, and my dad turned to me and said,


     “Natassja, I realize that we thought we would have to put him down by Christmas, but I’m thinking that we need to do it by the end of this week.” 


     Those words were all that it took for my hope to begin to crumble - I had truly thought that my childhood best friend would be able to pull through. I had been naive and the thought that he could die had never crossed my mind.  


     I  began to cry, and as tears began to fall from my face onto my dog's head, my dad went inside. I thought that he was cold, didn’t care, but when I later went inside, I saw that he was in fact hurt, and was only hiding it from me. I cried into my dog's fur, and for the first time in days, he licked my palm. I stepped back, having to go inside, and looked at him once again. His eyes held even more sorrow, almost as if my pain had been multiplied and reflected.


     I walked back into the house, still crying, but trying to keep them back, only to see my mom making dinner. I walked up behind her, trying to ask her if she would be okay, when I saw the tears streaming down her face, a rare moment of pain that I had never seen before. It was then that I realized that she had thought of Frufus as another child, and losing him would be terrible. She told me that we would be taking him to the vet the next day, 


     “We will do everything we can for him, he needs to know we care.” The next day we took him to the vet - a new veterinarian whom we had never met. I think that that will be one of the days that I remember most - the way that it was pouring, like the world was crying, and the fact that as soon as my dog stepped inside he had to lay down.

     When we were called in, he could not get up - they had to get a sling, and I could see the humiliation is his eyes, all of the life in him slowly leaking out. I  watched as they tried to put him on the scale, and I saw the way that his body was too big to fit on the whole thing, his goofy paws hanging off the edge, his stomach the only thing truly on the scale. It read exactly one hundred pounds, but chances are he weighed about ten pounds more than that. 


     We helped him back to the doctor's office, and the doctor knelt to see him, having us roll him over occasionally, all the while having us rub his ears. The doctor finished, asked us some questions, and finally gave us his verdict. 


     “Well, there is one thing that I can do,” he said, “But it’s not a sure thing. It may work because he has begun to decline so quickly, but I cannot guarantee anything.” After that, all I heard were the words, “steroid shot” and “could possibly survive.”      

     The hope that had been inside of me had reawakened, and it was blossoming inside of me. The hope was cut short, though, when my mother looked up and asked,


     “And if it doesn’t work...will you guys take care of the...process?” I heard her voice crack, and felt myself begin to cry - I could not think of losing my dog. He lay under my hands, breathing steadily and almost contentedly, as I saw the rain pour down the small window, its steady drumming the only thing keeping me from sobbing. 

I watched as the shot was given to my dog, and I truly hoped that it was the last time that I would ever watch that happen. My dog stood up, his legs already seeming a bit better, and I went to find my mother - she had gone to start the car. I found her by the car, silently sobbing and watching the rain, and I realized how final this all would be if the shot did not work. We helped him out to the car, and already we could tell that the shot was working. 


     We arrived home, and my dog was able to walk. The old Frufus was back, he was begging for food, following me around. When he went to lay down, it was because he was laying down himself - not because he had collapsed. I thought that he was pulling through, that everything would be okay, but when I woke up in the morning, I found out that he was still laying down next to his bed. I said goodbye to him and left, feeling as if the say could be a good one. But when I got home, I found out that my dog was doing very badly. He had relapsed into not being able to get up, and when I went to find him, there was a hood over his eyes. The depression had enveloped him again, and the Frufus that I loved was barely inhabiting this body. 

At dinner, my father told me that I should say my goodbyes that night - he did not know if he would even make it through the night. I walked into my parents room that night and said goodbye for the first time of three times, and when I left I could not bring myself to look back. I cried myself to sleep that night.


     The next morning, I walked back into my parents room. We were going to put my Frufus to sleep that day, and I had convinced my father to let me go - my brother could not go, and my mother would not be able to bear it. I walked in to say what might have been my last goodbye to my dog, and as I cried over him, I began to realize that we were just putting him out of his misery - and that I was really crying over my own pain. I said goodbye to him, and I think he realized what it meant. As I left for school, I turned back to look at him for what I thought might have been my last time. I saw his eyes look at mine with a look of recognition, and it was one of the worst feeling that I have ever had to experience.


     I left after French, not wanting to go, but wanting to have the chance to say goodbye to my dog. I signed out and walked to my car, saw my father standing next to the back of the car, the doors open so that my dog could feel the breeze. I spent the car ride with my dog, petting his head. I was wishing that the car ride would go slower - I wanted to spend hours with my dog - but at the same time, I wished it would speed up. I knew that every second that my dog was still breathing brought him pain.


     He put up a fight when they tried to pull him onto the stretcher, and for the first time ever, I saw him in a muzzle. Frufus hated it, and I so wished that they would take it off, but I knew that there was no way that they would. I sat in the trunk with him while they prepared, getting the equipment that they would need to end his life in the back of my car. 

He laid his head against my leg, and leaned in further as my dad and I massaged his ears, the place he loved to be pet the most. It seemed like hours until they were ready, and I watched as the shaved a portion of his leg, sitting him up so that his head was in the air. I pet him until he died, until my puppy had to be killed. I watched the blue fluid enter his body, enough dosage for a one hundred and twenty pound dog. I like to think that my dad and I were the last things that he saw before he died, and I think that this is true. His eyes showed recognition, almost relief, and I realized just how much pain he had truly been in. I saw his eyes close like he was falling into a deep sleep, and I felt his head lower back onto my leg - his breathing becoming more and more shallow.  


     The doctors left us then, allowing us to spend the last few minutes with my dog as he stopped breathing. My dad and I pulled off his muzzle, and I think he knew that we had taken away something that was bothering him. I sat crying, holding onto my dog until he wasn’t there anymore, and instead there was just a shell of what he used to look like. I watched in a daze as the came out to cart him away, his body slack as they tried once again to lift him. My dad asked me to go back to the car, to sit down and get ready to go. 


     I once again saw the pain on his face as he went inside to pay for the death of our dog. He came out and we left, and as we pulled out I realized the worst feeling that I had ever felt: the realization that the last time that I would ever see my first dog was when they were taking away his dead body. My father took me home to pick up my grandmother - we were going to go to lunch, and then I was to return to school. I entered the house and felt how empty it was, like there was something missing. It still feels that way.


     During lunch I talked to my father about his childhood dogs. He told me that through his whole life, Frufus had been the best. He explained to me that life can be taken away in an instant, and that I have to accept it, but also that the best way to honor something that you love dying is to remember them with fond memories. 


     Frufus was my best friend starting when I was four, and he was always there. When I walk down the hallway, I still think that I see him. When I walk in the door, I still expect him to be there to greet me. When I finish my dinner, I begin to ask my dad if I should give the leftovers to Frufus, and almost every time, I see the confusion on his face as he realizes that he himself does not know what to do with the leftovers. And even though thinking about him makes me want to cry, I realize that the only way to remember him is to think of him.


     I still have his collar on my desk, and my dad asked for his ashes to be brought home to us. He didn’t have to ask us if we wanted them, he just knew that we would. Because even though Frufus was a dog, he was a part of our family. He lived with us for nine years - we saved him when he was one. His life was taken in seconds, and he died at exactly 10:01 on august 26th of 2010. Even though he is gone, his memories will always live in my home. My family will continue to remember the things that he did, the quirks that made him who he was.


Comments (8)

Kate Oubre said

at 4:32 pm on Sep 12, 2010


There are some paragraph formatting errors that need to be corrected.

McNerney said

at 3:43 pm on Sep 21, 2010

Such a sad story!!! ): But it was amazing. You really did a great job in writing this.

McNerney said

at 3:56 pm on Sep 21, 2010

By the way, I thought your video was absolutely amazing.

nhand@stgregoryschool.org said

at 4:02 pm on Sep 21, 2010

Wonderfully writen. You really conveyed how sad this event was for you.

mkrabbendam said

at 5:43 pm on Sep 21, 2010

this story is really really sad, really really well written but really sad. you writing was really good, and you made it all seem really real. i also loved your video by he way, really good!

Arturo Chavez said

at 10:28 pm on Sep 21, 2010

this story is detailed and makes you care for the characters. Poor Frufus he sounds like a great dog.

Peter said

at 10:36 pm on Sep 21, 2010

This is a really emotional story! Even though it was really long, it never got boring!

cfiehtner said

at 11:26 pm on Sep 21, 2010

I loved reading your story, it was sad but written so well and was full of detail it was a great story. and i liked your video aswell

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