Friday, October 27, 2006
Today is a very sad day. My family marks the passing of a dog we all loved. Our chocolate labrador, angel, succumbed to a cobra's venomous bite. I recieved the news from my brother as I was spending another lazy afternoon in camp. With a little time-off in tow, I drove home to see how my mum and sisters were taking it (They've always been closer to the dogs). As I did so, images of angel flashed in my mind, I had not noticed it, but in a way she had become a part of my daily life as much as any of my family members or closest friends.
The unwelcome feelings were oddly familiar. A mixture of sadness, anger, guilt and a tinge of hopelessness assaulted me. Sadness because I knew I would not be able to come home and see her lazily ambling towards me for an apple I had just cut. Anger at the vet for not saving her life. Guilt for not all those extra licks I had denied her whilst reading my morning paper on the patio. Hopelessness because I knew there was no way of bringing her back and letting her have that extra lick.
I came home after camp yesterday evening to change as I had made a dinner appointment with darren and gang earlier. Strangely, my dad had just come back with the jeep, and I asked him where he had gone. He told me angel had killed a cobra, and they had just gotten back from the vet. I had taken her to the vet before when she got some venom in her eyes (A number of snakes have fallen prey to her, and she enjoys chasing my mum around the house with one in her mouth), and she had turned out fine, so I thought nothing of it and left for dinner. I got back home from the gym (after dinner), and was totally shagged, so I crashed almost immediatly.
The story goes, that when my dad had brought angel down to the vet in the afternoon, the vet had decided she had not been bitten and an anti-venom did not have to be administered. Put it down to a lack of experience, but that crucial decision cost us heavily. At about 10pm when my mum came down to the kitchen for a drink, she noticed angel slumped in a corner and on closer inspection, she was frothing. She was rushed down to the animal hospital, but the vets painted a grim picture. Nonetheless, my mum asked them to administer the anti-venom and do all they could to save her life. AT 415 in the morning, the phone rang and the vet confirmed angel had passed on.
It was wierd having dinner just now, and not seeing angel at the door with the two other dogs. I always liked her temprement the most. In the morning, when I'm out in the patio reading my newspaper, she would come by, and look at me, then give me a casual lick as though she had done it accidentally. Rocky on the other hand would just force his way through and keep on licking me in spite of my protests. And lucky, well that ruffian would simply come up, stick his head up, bark, as if saying "Pat me, cause I'm a top dog!" I've got to admit, Rocky is probably my favourite dog, as I admire his brute strength, and yet his restraint from using it, especially when "fighting" with the ruffian lucky, who is our local "ah beng". But angel ... well she was something special, and the fact she killed so many snakes also means she protected the family from possible harm.
Eating my dinner, and looking out to that empty spot and the two dogs, I wondered, do they feel a similar sort of loss now that their companion is gone? (Rather childishly, I think to myself, will Rocky be lonely sleeping alone outside?) Where do dogs go after they die? Perhaps they have a greater understanding of this than we do, and so do not grieve. I return to my human tendancy, and try to imagine she is in a better place, a place full of people to lick, apples to eat, and tennis balls to play with.
We shall miss you angel.