This I Believe

Rita - Hoffman Estates, Illinois
Entered on May 31, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe tragedy has the power to do something remarkable. I am not much of an optimist myself, but through experiences, I have learned the valuable lesson misfortune forces us to learn. Sometimes, whether we allow ourselves to believe in sadness or not, we can grow as a person. If I could live a life without despair, I would. Realistically, though, I am as susceptible to life’s dangers as anyone else, and I learned this the hard way.

My puppy had been squinting for the past few days, so my mother visited the vet. When she told me that the vet said everything was going to be all right, I was relieved. The veterinarian prescribed Roxy, my dog, some eye drops to make the pain stop. But after a few long days, she was still squinting. And through her one good eye, I could feel her pain.

My mother then consulted another vet. When I called my mom to ask what the second vet said, she took a long deep breath and as calmly as she could, told me that our dog’s eye was removed.

Motionless, I stared through the window of my friend’s car. The shock hit me right in the gut. I came home that day to a mother full of guilt, a dog full of drugs and stitches, and a dad who didn’t know how to comfort anyone. The house was heavy and walking through the rooms was like walking in black smoke.

What I didn’t understand the most was how the first veterinarian didn’t catch this disease. The infection is called blastomycosis, and its deadly. The survival rate was uncomforting, and the age of our puppy, one and half years old, was an even more nauseating fact. She was young, lively, hyper, but after surgery she hardly walked, barked, or ate.

A few days later, I started to see her again. She was finally able to climb up the stairs without us helping her. She could eat without us guiding her to her bowl. And now, she always winked at me.

Obviously, she isn’t the same anymore. In fact, she’s a character. There is something to her that most dogs don’t have. By no means am I glad her eye taken out, but she is one uniquely funny puppy now. I’ll never be confused on which dog is mine. All her characteristics are back to normal. She barks annoyingly. She runs under peoples’ legs, tripping them in the process. She jumps to eat food that is comfortably in our hands. Just now, she always winks.

For days, I cried about how unfair life was, but through this tragedy, my family grew stronger, together. I believe that tragedy is devastating, but for some reason, despair has no choice but to follow with a resolution, with a happy ending. My puppy won’t ever be the same, but I believe she’s okay with that, and if she is, then so am I.