Saturday, January 2, 2016

A Dog Died Today

I awoke with the rumbling of my door, as my mom frantically knocked and hollered my name. I stuck my head out the doorway thinking it was another house fire that triggered her panic. She was pacing around the hallway like a wild stallion cordoned by fences, hysterically crying out and talking to the white ball of fur she clutched tightly in her arms. It was Princess, a Shih Tzu merely a few years old, that she found wandering alone and ownerless on the village streets.

Now this dog was a pup in poor condition when she was first adopted by us, only a few years ago. Skin disease and lesions all over, bad nails, poor teeth, poorly fed apparently, obviously maltreated and abandoned, and a particularly fearful disposition for anything it came across, any stimulant, any physical contact; it was basically afraid of the world.

She wasn't responding to anything when I took a look at her. Her eyes were motionless and her tongue stuck out. I was waiting for the plan as my mother usually had veterinary contacts for the dogs and cats she's adopted through the years. But she was somehow mentally paralyzed and while only two minutes had passed, Ces suddenly started to spray out blood through her nostrils, and poop and pee started to ooze out. As I mentioned this, my mother shook Ces some more, hoping Ces would snap out of it. It was an obvious conclusion I didn't want to insensitively point out, just as her tongue turned lifeless dark purple right before our eyes. At that point, I convinced her to let me drive them to the animal hospital despite the bleak chances of life.

It didn't take more than 10 minutes for my mom and the veterinarian to talk as I waited outside the observation room. She died of a stroke and/or heart attack apparently. Some people at home speculating the noise from the remnants of New Year's fireworks and explosions doing her in.

As a dog afraid of almost anything, Ces didn't live an active lifestyle. She mostly shied away from other dogs in our house and only wanted to sit, hide, and eat. Yes, three things, nothing else. It was undeniably an unhealthy life that led her down to the fateful events of today. Then again, to me, it was a tragedy of instincts and conditioning. Here was a dog who lived as a pup full of fear and loneliness, subsequently abandoned to fend for herself, and while we afforded her food, attention, and solace, we could not extract from her the overwhelming cautiousness and fear of what she had been through and had been exposed to. She learned to be more assertive and playful just a few months ago (can you believe that after almost 4 years of living) as she learned to bark when she asked for something. It was a totally empowering experience for her I have no doubt and I know it freed her somehow from her anxieties and fears, even if these were sporadic and rare moments.

I only hope that she found happiness even for a bit in her short dog years with us. We remember her and it's probably only through us that her memory will live on, as all other animals and people die every single day and the tragedy of life ceasing just seems all merely personal and all too relative in perspective as far as everyone else is concerned. The memories of those who pass on can only reach past so many generations and empirical hedonism at times seems to be an all too practical disposition in embracing the temporal experience that is life.

Princess died today. She died with her eyes wide open and her tongue sticking out.

All compositions, statements and opinions of the author are copyright © Earl T. Malvar 2009-2016. All rights reserved. There is no honor, respect, admiration, intellectual and academic dignity garnered through plagiarism.

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