The smell hit like a brick as I opened my apartment door. My face dropped and I took a deep breath before closing the door behind me. Bentley was sick. I entered my bedroom, my stomach turned, and I tried not to gag. There he was in the corner, my nine pound Pomeranian standing in his kennel. It was everywhere! There was no place for him to lie down, a layer of the slime covered the plastic bottom of his kennel. How long had he been waiting for me?
I opened the kennel door and picked him up. His little feet smeared my work shirt in feces. He was shaking as I walked him to the bathtub and began to run the water. “It’s okay baby, you’re not in trouble. Mommy’s here.” If only he could understand. I kept repeating myself as I scrubbed the gunk out of his long fur. “It’s okay, mommy’s here.”
The smell in my bedroom was awful and I needed to remind myself to keep breathing. I moved the kennel onto the tile floor of the bathroom and held my breath as I leaned in to soak up the mess with tissue paper. I flushed the first handful and went back in for more. I tried to breath but the smell overwhelmed me and I vomited in the toilet by my side.
“I could stop now.” I thought to myself. “I could shut the door and walk away. I could get in my car and pretend this never happened.” But I looked at Bentley, he needed me. I cleaned everything: the kennel, the bathtub, even the walls.
“He’s okay, whatever he ate is out of his system now.” I kept repeating to myself. But then it started again. I scooped him up and ran to the bathtub. Bentley just stood there, vomit came oozing out of his little mouth. How could so much come out of one little dog? He stood there as though he didn’t even know he was vomiting. Staring at me with those tiny black eyes. I held my breath.
“What do I do?”
Those terrified little black eyes.
“Don’t cry! Don’t cry!”
That’s when it hit me. As the tears swelled in my eyes and I felt so helpless. I realized that I’m going to make a great mother. I was just beginning to learn what it takes to care for something so helpless and it felt so right. Being there with Bentley, cleaning up his mess, was my responsibility but that wasn’t why I stayed. This wasn’t about obligation, this was about love. I stayed there with my sick dog because I loved him. I am the one person that he depends on. Years from now I will be caring for my sick child for the first time. I will probably feel just as scared and helpless, but I’ll know I can do it.
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