I’ll miss the many many, few, hours we spent together
High school. We all had shitty jobs. I just literally had the shittiest. I worked at a kennel. Ya know, where people drop off their dogs & cats when they go on vacations. I thought it was awesome at the time. I just go and hang out with dogs all day. It wasn’t that bad. I didn’t have to think too much and the most pressure that I dealt with was if the dog was barking too much.
Things did get weird towards the end. We had these deals where you could spend extra money and we had to read the dogs bed time stories and tuck them in with a doggy ice cream. I wish I were joking. They were the “Spot” books. Dogs don’t like to be read to. I found that out the hard way. This is besides the point.
One night I was closing up shop. The dogs were in the cages and I was doing the final walk through when I saw a dog that didn’t look too well. He actually looked so unwell I felt the need to address my boss and say something about it. “Hey, Nicole, the dog in number 7 looks pretty sick.” We walked into the back to the kennels. She stared at me. She stared at the dog. She stared at me. This dumb 17 year old. “You have to take this dog to the vet…immediately.” What the What. “ummm. you are talking to me right? because there’s no one else back here.” I asked as I stared at here like an idiot. “Yes. put this dog in your car and take it to the vet NOW.” Well…I didn’t know where the vet was, but god damn did I drive fast.
I got my brick Nokia out and called my mom in sheer panic “DOG. SICK. VET. CAR. WHERE IS IT?” “ummmmm…. are you talking words? what?” My Mom ever so patient with me, always used to my overdramatic ‘what the hell’ moments I throw out random words and finally complete the story and tell her where I need to go. Pre-GPS. I didn’t have time to print out the mapquest directions so she guides me through the phone how to get to the vet. I AM FREAKING THE FUCK OUT. I’m not one to deal with high pressure situations such as this well. I don’t take tests well. I’ll stand in front of little kids and chat all day, but things like this, AWW HELL NAW.
I get to the vet. I wipe the sweat from my brow because, god damnit, I was just an ambulance for a dog. So I carry this dog that is probably half my size into the vet. And it’s getting worse. It’s looking worse. And it’s started vomiting. Foaming a bit around the mouth. You know how they say that when true emergencies happen people develop this superhuman strength? I guess that’s how I carried this dog in. Because it was not light. As soon as I check in, I feel a little relieved. “you did well, Val.” *pat on my own back*
We get the dog to the Dr. “YOU NEED TO TAKE THIS DOG TO THE EMERGENCY ANIMAL HOSPITAL IMMEDIATELY.”
WHAT. THE ACTUAL FUCK. IS WRONG WITH EVERYONE. can no one tell, that me, a 17 year old, is driving my car, older than myself, around not dealing with emergencies well? And I’m pretty sure I have a French test tomorrow & Phsyics homework due. This is NOT on my agenda. I call my boss. I relay the info. She screams into the phone to do the same thing. WELL THEN, THANKS GUYS. I have NO No NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO idea where the animal hospital is. They try to give me directions, but all I know is nothing is sticking in my brain and I’ve always failed that part of state testing every year. MAPS AND DIRECTIONS. Always my lowest score. My Mom always hated that. She’s like a modern day cartographer and I can’t even get myself around the damn block. Whatever. I call my Mom: AGAIN. Tears are in my eyes and my voice is shaking at this point because, for chrissake, this dog is now dying in my backseat. It’s throwing up:Everywhere. It’s moaning. And I’m driving like a madman trying to find this Animal Hospital. I AM THE AMBULANCE, DAMNIT. Seriously, vomit everywhere. And I can hear the breathing shallowing and I swear it’s a race against the clock and I’ll run the damn red lights if I have to because, damnit, this is important.
I FIND THE HOSPITAL. I get the dog out with the help of a worker. I’m not a superhero anymore. I’m so dumb, panicked kid that is seriously on the verge of having a meltdown if you don’t sedate me stat. We get the dog to the back immediately. Not even there for 5 minutes, they all look at me, “Sorry, miss, we’re going to have to put your dog down.” They knew it before even diagnosing. I knew it. They knew it. We all knew it. HO-LY SHIT. I. LOST. IT. I SOBBED. AND SOBBED. STRANGERS HELD ME. The Dr. tried to console me “How long did you have him?” “He *gasp* came *gasp* in *gasp* on *gasp* Tuesday!!!” (It’s Thursday) Everyone just stares at me awkwardly. “He’s *gasp* not *gasp* my *gasp* dog!!!” LONG SOBBBING SCREAM AND LOTS OF TEARS. I then try to explain between sobs that I’m going to have to tell the family on vacation that they’re dog died. They try to tell me the dog was old and things like this happen in life. BUT YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND. No one understands you when you live the life of an over-dramatic dramatic. Everything is….well… dramatic.
Eventually I go back to my car after the Dr.’s called my Boss. My Boss talks to me and tells me “I thought this would happen.” Bitch put me up to it. I sit in the diver’s seat. There’s vomit. EVERYWHERE. I sigh. It smells. I cry. I drive home. My Mom hugs me after hours of torture. She cleaned my car for me that night. A saint, I swear. But that, my friends, was the worst night of working. I actually had to take like 3 days off after for emotional stress. I think my boss actually MADE me take off to be honest. DESERVED. RIP family dog. I still think about you.