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Pawprints in My Heart

Discussion in 'Pets and Animal Lovers' started by Sriniketan, Nov 2, 2007.

  1. Sriniketan

    Sriniketan IL Hall of Fame

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    My daughter, Archana, wrote this true short story in loving memory of our dog, Cocoa, who died recently.



    Paw Prints in My Heart

    “Archana!” my mother called. “Come down here.” It was Sunday, September 16<SUP>th</SUP>. I lazily asked, “Why?” She sounded worried. “Your dad needs you to help him carry Cocoa into the car.” That got my attention. I sprinted downstairs, leaving my homework unattended in scattered piles. Nothing was more important than my dog. I asked my mom what was wrong with him. “He’s been immobile all day,” she replied. “I tried to lift him, but he keeps slipping out of my arms,” my father said. “I’m going to need your help.”
    I was scared. Step by step, I slowly exited the garage. I didn’t see him. “Cocoa?” I called. I didn’t hear anything either. Usually, my voice triggered his jumping up and down and the wagging of his tail. For a few days, he hadn’t been responding to anyone’s voice with much more than a lift of his majestic head. I crept around the Suburban. There he is, I thought. Just as beautiful as ever. He was a golden retriever mix, but he resembled a lion. His shiny coat of a brown sugar color would catch anyone’s eye. Wait a minute! His brown eyes were dreamily open. Is he breathing?
    I checked. Yes, he is! Relieved, I felt my own breath, flowing in and out. He saw me. He didn’t move. He couldn’t. I could see that he wasn’t trying to fight whatever was taking over his body. The afternoon atmosphere outside would have been perfect for anyone else, but to me, it was unbearable. I heard something. I knelt down. Was that Cocoa? Then, I saw it.
    I should restate to say “them.” At that moment, I heard the horrible buzzing. Only after that did my eye catch the sight of over a dozen flies swarming around Cocoa. I shot back up to a standing position. I hated flies, but these didn’t even look like normal houseflies. They seemed like a mix between flies and bees. They settled down on random spots of his fur. Some were content with the outer skin. However, as I was shooing them away, I found that a few preferred his ears! I practically had to dig them out with my fingers. They were willing to enter his body through any opening, including his behind! I was intent on getting the flies off of Cocoa, but I noticed that my vision was becoming blurred. My hair was falling on my face, and I was getting frustrated. But I felt something else on my cheeks. Then, I tasted it. At least I learned that I don’t have a sodium deficiency. I never knew tears could be so salty. They streamed down my face.
    I couldn’t take it anymore. I cried uncontrollably. Kneeling down again, I whispered in Cocoa’s ear, “I love you, Cocoa. I love you.” He’ll be all right. Control yourself. Get him to the hospital, I told myself. I couldn’t move. If not physically, I was paralyzed psychologically. Luckily, my dad came up behind me, and we both lifted Cocoa into the trunk of the Prius. He flopped into the car. I’m not going with them. I can’t. I darted back into the house. I found my mom standing in the doorway and cried in her arms as she held me.
    It was the longest hour of my life. I couldn’t focus on my homework and had a series of flashbacks. I remembered when I first chose him among all of the other puppies at the animal shelter. My father, sister, brother, and friend walked through the aisle. It had taken a long time to convince my parents to get me a puppy, so I was excited. The dogs all barked at us in a deafening way. I had to plug out the noise with my fingers.
    We had finally reached the last cell, where I saw four mocha-colored puppies. I didn’t know which one to take with us. The man with us asked, “Which one do you want?” “The one crawling up your shoulder,” I replied, as though I was hurried. We “tested him out” in the play area. I recalled that he was afraid of “squeaky” toys. He would run away and hide under the bench! It was a funny scene. We adopted him as my second brother and named him Cocoa-Puff. No, we didn’t name him after the cereal brand. His looks mirrored a ball of chocolate, hence his name.
    Being a smart dog, he learned how to climb the stairs right away. It didn’t take him long to learn a few tricks in both English and Tamil, which is my mother tongue. I shook myself out of the daze when I heard the car pull into the driveway. My father was entering the house alone. Where’s Cocoa? Something wasn’t right. “What did the vet say?” I asked. I was afraid to hear the answer.
    “She said he’s had pancreatic cancer this whole time, and we didn’t know it. Apparently, it is diagnosed in all purebred dogs. She told me that he didn’t have a chance. That it was too late, even if I had brought him in ten days ago,” he replied helplessly. But he’s only three and a half years old and he’s not a purebred! my brain screamed. My knees gave way, and I gripped the doorframe tightly. Tears were unleashed involuntarily. I couldn’t hear much above my crying. “…Heart stopped.” I heard him faintly. “…Told her to cremate…” That was all I needed to know. It was the worst day of my life by far.
    I don’t know how I concentrated on my homework, let alone on the AP Chemistry test or at my tennis clinic the next day. In fact, I don’t think I did. I broke down in front of my friends initially, but as the day progressed, I was able to hold back the tears and tell others about Cocoa’s death. Something I noticed throughout the day was how many times people mentioned the word “dog”. It was probably normal, but it was devastating to me after such a tremendous loss. Thankfully, the sympathy I received from everyone kept me going. It’s amazing what a few hugs can do to cheer someone up.
    My philosophy in life is that there is good in everything. It gives me a more positive outlook on the world. However, I couldn’t understand what “good” there was in Cocoa developing pancreatic cancer in the first place. I loved him, and he knew that. That’s enough for me. I have promised that I will write a song dedicated to him. I sense that one day it will be the song that initiates my career as a singer. If one leaves prints in the sand, they will be devoured by the earth. However, Cocoa-Puff carved his paw prints into my heart, and they will stay there in his memory.
    By Archana Narasimhan
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2007
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  2. Shanvy

    Shanvy IL Hall of Fame

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    hi Archana

    I loved the story so much...hope now you are very much fine...you have your loving memories of your cocoa....you have learnt to move forward....

    and expression of feelings is very good....do write a lot... I am happy for you..for your mom....
    :clap:clap:clap
    all the best..god bless you....

    (Sriniketan, if archana read it, fine..otherwise do convey the same to her...don't need to correct grammar:mad:...the feelings and expressions she has conveyed are so beautiful....)
     
  3. Tulasi

    Tulasi Silver IL'ite

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    Hi Sri,
    Archana had written so beautifully. I could see all the words came from her heart. I could visualize everything as if I was watching a movie.I could feel how pained she was.. I hope she recovered.

    looks like she has a potential to become a good writer..Best of luck Archana for your future writings..
    Tulasi
     
  4. sunkan

    sunkan Gold IL'ite

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    Thanku Srini,
    For Bringing Archana's Article Here, Something From Her Heart And Wonderful It Was To Go Through Along With Her, Pl Encourage Her To Write More..love Sunkan
     
  5. Vandhana

    Vandhana Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Archana,

    Very well written. I could feel the pain you went through on this loss of yours. Yes losing a dear pet is indeed a very painful act. You have a way with words dear. All the best for your future. And please do convince mom and dad to get you another dog.

    Vandhana

    Bhargavi, please do ask Archana to read all our messages and words of encouragement to her.

    Thanks
     
  6. Shanvy

    Shanvy IL Hall of Fame

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    hi vandhana,

    I like your new avataar with an attitude:exactly:
     
  7. malspie

    malspie Platinum IL'ite

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    Hi Sri,

    The story touched my heart being an ardent animal lover. Please encourage her to pen her thoughts. She may end up being a good writer...

    Convey my words of expressions to her without fail...

    Love
     
  8. Vysan

    Vysan Gold IL'ite

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    Hi Archana,

    Though I am not good with pets... I can understand your feeling of loss and happy that you have moved forwad... Great... In my opinion, it needs a great heart to love animals... You have it... Your loving memories of Cocoa, and your expression of feelings is great... All the best...

    Dear Srinik,

    You have a great daughter with a great heart... She has a very nice way of writing and expressing her feelings... Encourage her... Hope she gets another pet doggy... Though the new one cannot replace the first... But it is there to share her love...Best of luck....
     
  9. Vidya24

    Vidya24 Gold IL'ite

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    Sriniketan,

    Archana has written very well. When words key from the heart, they reach the reader's soul. I am sure Cocoa was one lucky being to have been with all of you.

    regards
     
  10. krish22

    krish22 Senior IL'ite

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    Hi,

    She has succeeded in the write up as I imagined myself in the story.

    My best wishes for her in future endeavors.
     

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