Friday, February 03, 2006

Puppy Grief




It hasn't been Elliot's day. It was bad enough that he woke up to the sight of bags in the hallway this morning. Elliot hates bags. Bags mean that people are leaving. And he is never sure who. Just that, whoever it is, he is sure to miss them.

Forehead creased in anxiety, he watches as Julie, Jackie, Simon and Mom clamber into the car and take off. He circles the driveway in anxiety, waiting for it to return. Maybe it's a false alarm. Maybe this time the car will come back and disgorge its precious cargo.

But an hour later as he rushes up madly to welcome it home, he sees only three. He circles the car thrice just to make sure. Julie is gone. Elliot has pride enough not to howl but looking at him, you can feel his silent whimper.

At least Jackie and Simon are still here, though. To cheer him up, they close the large gate outside to let him run free. He does, but his forehead is still creased in anxiety. Today feels ominous. More unpleasantness in store.

Sure enough, Mummy and Jenn come out and herd him unceremoniously into the car. He sits on Simon's lap and gazes out the window, worried. He does not like car rides. Car rides mean a visit to the vet. He starts to shed in sheer nervousness.

At the vet, it takes three family members to load him on the weighing scale. Shivering, he scrambles off everytime he is put on. He hates the smells in this place. He just wants to go home. But his ordeal isn't over yet. Mummy, Jenn and Jackie force him into the vet's office. He refuses to be put on the examination table. Finally, Dr Koh listens to his racing heart on the floor. It takes all three to hold him still, while the vet places the cold end of the stethoscope on his flank.

"Oh my goodness, this dog is terrified," he says accusingly. They look suitably chastened. "And he is all bones. What do you feed him?"

"Dog biscuits for breakfast. Rice and meat for lunch. Despite appearances, this dog is far from starving," Jackie flashes, indignant.

"Hmmm....what did he weigh in at?" the doc wants to know, unconvinced.

"About 20.5 kilos," Jenn replies. Dr Koh shakes his head unbelieving. No, it can't be. "Malaysian dogs are usually between 15 and 20 kilos. You're telling me this one is over 20?"

"Yeah, he eats a hell of a lot. He has a voracious appetite. We don't know why he looks the way he does."

"OK then, we will have to deworm him. Crush these two pills and give it to him in his food."

Dr Koh injects his side and Elliot, who has been struggling wildly to get outside in the meantime, hardly notices. He's good to go.

He scrambles out of the vet happily and is perfectly well behaved on the way home. If he does try to lick Mom in the face while she's driving, it's only because he's relieved.

Jackie and Simon take him for a walk, and he's actually smiling. Maybe things are not so bad after all. But....

It's evening and he sees the suitcases lying open in the hall as Jackie packs. He does not like this. He doesn't like this at all. He watches her mournfully, tail between his legs. He sees Simon packing too. How many people are going to desert him today?

They pat him goodbye and he knows...he jumps up to give them a hug each, pushing Jackie down. She laughs, as Jenn pulls Elliot off her, and struggles up. But the laugh is hollow.

The car leaves again. This time it comes back without Jackie and Simon. Elliot circles the car to make sure. He stands on his hind legs to peer in. Then he creeps off to hide under Mom's car.

His tears are silent.

7 comments:

goldennib said...

Sad puppies are the saddest. *sniff*

Berlinbound said...

I loved it ... I could hear his toe nails slipping and sliding on the steel scale ... reminding me of pets from long ago and visits to the vet.

A thinker said...

That's a great post. Brilliant doing it from the viewpoint of the dog.

Jenn said...

goldennib: Yeah, I hear you. They are.

berlinbound: Thank you. Really? I thought it was only Elliot who behaved this way. The other dogs there always seemed better behaved.

a thinker: Hi. Welcome to my blog. And thanks.

lemontree said...

well written jenn - very alive

lemontree said...

hi jenn
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goldennib said...

Cute puppy.