That dog and I had a special bond. I asked for a puppy for years before my parents got him for my birthday. He was the size of a large gerbil when we adopted him, with a big brown spot on his back. Two years later he was a slightly larger size—more like a brown and white hamster—and a true member of the family.
Encounter With a Wasp
As I sat in my grandmother’s recliner, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye squirming about on the wooden floor. On close examination, I realized it was a wasp with a broken wing. I slowly backed away. Pests with stingers were much scarier back in sixth grade, and they must’ve been scarier for a fourth-grader because Bella darted from the room. Curious Cooper, however, ran up to the bug. Before we could stop him, he began to sniff the bug. Cooper yelped in pain, and Grandma removed the wasp from his nose. My mother, who heard Cooper’s shrieks, swept the wasp into a dustpan.
Nothing was visibly different on his face. No swelling on his red button nose. Grandma put some aloe vera on Cooper’s nose, and we went back to what we were doing, careful to keep an eye on our pet.
A few minutes later, I pet Cooper as he lay in his bed. I thought he needed some comfort, as his interaction with the wasp jittered him. He stood up to drink water from his dish, but his walk had a bit of wobble to it. My mother noticed his stagger as well. She called the veterinarian, asking them what to do. They advised us to bring him in immediately.
To the Vet Clinic
My mother drove with me and Cooper in the backseat. Soon he lay down and eventually started to squint his eyes.
I thought at least he was getting some rest, and I enthusiastically relayed this information to my mother. She then replied, “Oh no.”
We rolled into the vet clinic, and the vet took my dog into the back room to treat his reaction. My mother and I sat in the lobby for what felt like hours. I thought of the two years that we’d already had him. His first snow day was such an interesting spectacle. All the snow stuck to his paws, and we had to wash them off. I loved seeing him grow to a size in which he could get up the stairs without our help. I loved sitting with him on the sofa, him lying down on the leg rest.
Sitting in that lobby, I realized that these memories were too few. They were memories I treasured, but there was disappointment in the thought that I would not get to experience more. The endless possibilities of shared time could be cut short within the span of an afternoon. Two years? Was that all I could spend with Cooper before he was whisked away from me? If I knew that morning that he might pass away, I would’ve treasured that time much more.
I saw the door in the back open and the vet walk outside. I dreaded what she might say. She told us that despite Cooper having a severe reaction, he would be able to come home with us that day. Within the hour, a tired Cooper was given back to us, and we left the veterinarian clinic. He laid his head on my lap on the bumpy road home.
On the car ride home, I felt so ecstatic. I knew I loved him, but it had taken a near-death experience for me to realize how much he meant to me. Ten years have passed since that day and Cooper is now old for his breed. Despite that, he’s still the same energized furry friend that I grew up with. Brown spot and all.
Michael Jimenez writes from the Pacific Northwest.© 2002 - 2023, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.