Todays prompt write about a loss something that was part of your life but isn’t anymore Today’s twist: Make today’s post the first in a three-post series.
Last night when I first read this prompt I read it as write about something that made you sad. I slept on it and woke up with the decision that I was not going to do todays assignment. Writing about something sad would easily make me sad. I have spent too much of my life being sad. Today I do everything in my power to not be sad. Then I took a second look at the prompt (after reading someone else’s assignment) and read what it really said. I might be able to do this and prevent myself from becoming sad. Not only can I write about the actual loss, but I can write about the very very good times we had prior to the loss. I am talking about the loss of Alyx, the first dog I ever had as an adult.
My roommate and I went to the mall shopping for who knows what. We strolled into the pet store just to look. After whipping out my credit card we walked out with a tiny beagle puppy. I did not know about pet stores and puppy mills when I “bought” Alyx. I have learned so much about both since then. The store told us the puppy had just been to a local vet and she had no health problems. We didn’t have her home an hour when we noticed the coughing and sneezing. The next day I brought her to my cat’s vet and she was diagnosed with a double ear infection and ear mites. Funny and a bit odd how she developed both these things so quickly after being given a clean bill of health.
Growing up I had always had mutts. I do not recall these dogs ever needing to visit the vet. Not even once. Alyx was different. She was constantly at the vets. It was her second home. There was always something wrong with her. Never anything too serious that could not be fixed. Eventually the joke was that she had her own credit card. People frown on others who get their pets from Pet stores. They cry save the ones at the pound! Well I feel as though I saved the one at the pet store. Because of Alyx I have never set foot in another pet store. I learned about the connection between puppy mills and pet stores and how pet stores sell to the customers emotional side. That is how I got Alyx. I saw her, felt bad for her, wanted her, and paid quite a bit for her. It is so easy when you are young with your own credit card. I never even asked my landlord if dogs were okay. I didn’t think I just bought. I recall when I got my cat a few years earlier, the shelter would not let me have her until they spoke directly with my landlord. The pet store did not care. Alyx could easily have ended up in a shelter had my landlord said no or she had been purchased by a family unable to care for her medical needs.
Life went on. Alyx remained a sick little beagle, but I loved her. I was able to take care of each illness as it arouse. She was my first real adult responsibility. I had a cat, but cats are different. You don’t take care of cats. You cook and clean for them. Eventually my roommate moved on. There was no custody battle. It was just a given that Alyx would stay with me. I met my husband and Alyx immediately fell in love with him. She was such a great dog. She loved her road trips. She sat in the front seat between my husband and I on her own pillow. We have pictures of her “driving” down the road in Cape Hatteras. She was truly loved by everyone including her very own babysitter who we used when we traveled for business.
Around 5 years old Allie got real sick. It was otherwise a very happy time in my life. I was newly married, owned my own home, had a good job, and a little family consisting of 2 humans, a cat, and a dog. Alyx continued her regular trips to the vet. They did what they could to make her feel better, but eventually there was nothing more to do. I was at work when I heard the worst new ever. She was in kidney failure and it was best to let her go. As I hung up the phone and sat in my office, I was devastated. I looked up and Alyx’s babysitter was standing in the doorway. I did not need to tell her a thing. She had just spent a week with Allie and somehow knew.
Alyx was my first major loss as an adult. I felt it all. Anger, sadness, gratitude, guilt…. I was angry at both myself and the puppy mill she most likely came from. Anger at myself for the times I got annoyed with her for peeing on the floor. Sadness because she was my baby and she was gone. Gratitude that I was able to save her from that pet store and give her the best life possible. Guilt because I was unable to save her again. I did have my husband and cat to comfort me, but Allie was special. She was my baby girl. I had lost pets before, but Allie had saved me as much as I had saved her. It would be a very long time before I could even think about feeling better.
I don’t think of loss when I write about Allie. I think about the fact that she was the start of what would soon become a multitude of very funny beagle stories.