Written for a 10h grade English assignment, by Alissa Phillips, several months after the euthanization of our
Old English Sheepdog, Dudley.
One rainy morning in December, my Mother and I took Dudley to the veterinarian’s office for the last time. We had made the decision to put him to sleep a few days before, and now it was time to say good-bye to our dear, old dog.
Dudley had severe hip-displasia in both hips, and it broke my heart each time he tried to get up. Over the years we had become so close. He was always there when I needed someone to talk to. Even though he couldn’t talk back, he would look up at me with his loving, brown eyes, and I knew he understood.
The months after his death were filled with loss and sadness, but the months before were much more difficult. I had a chance to say good-bye and let him know how much I loved him. I knew that he was no longer in pain, and even though I was, I did not regret the decision.
There was a yearning to see Dudley. I wanted to be with him again, and I would keep pretending that he was still alive. Every night I would start to go downstairs to say good night to him, before realizing that he wasn’t there anymore. I would go anyway, just to make sure. Twice, I even made his breakfast.
My birthday was three days after Dudley’s death, but Dudley was all I could think of. For Christmas, I made him gifts as I would normally do, and put them under the tree.
I began to think about Dudley’s life. Although he only lived for ten years, he lived them well. He was always happy and excitable. He would jump up on my bed to stay with me until I fell asleep. He took up half the bed, but I didn’t care. I wanted to be with him. Sometimes he played with his toys as a puppy would and chase cars from behind the fence of our front yard. I enjoyed watching him and his vivacious behavior. He truly loved life, and that kept him going through his pain.
Dudley was a very special part of my life. My Mother says that when I was younger, I would say, “Dudley is my favorite thing in the whole world.” That probably was true. There is still a part of him deep down inside of me that can never be taken away.
The day we put Dudley down, I felt as if I had no reason to live without him. Months before, my mother had prepared me and assured me that we would be doing the right thing. We would be sacrificing; our pain for his. And, she gave me a book on grieving, which was helpful.
My Mother told me that I didn’t have to go to school after, if I didn’t want to. I decided to go. I thought that I could hide my feelings. When I got there, everyone asked me where I was that morning, and I couldn’t hold back my tears. I cried on and off all day.
I kept Dudley’s collar. I wore it wrapped twice around my wrist to have a part of him near me. I wore it every day for at least six weeks. Dudley was cremated and is now kept in an urn that I picked out, sitting on the landing. Sometimes I open the top and see his ashes.
I grieved for months, which seemed like an eternity. Waiting for the sadness to go away and for my heart to mend. I still think about Dudley, his place in my life, and the wonderful memories that I keep.
by Alissa Phillips