VOICES: A question answered, a heart broken

Rand Guthrie’s tale of her beloved puppy, Bama




GUTHRIEI’ve been waiting all week to hear if he is doing better. I look over at my dad, who is driving. His face is locked straight ahead, sadness in his eyes.

“Why won’t you look at me? Just tell me,” I say.

He turns and looks at me, finally.

“Randa, he didn’t make it. I’m so sorry.”

I don’t say anything. I just cry. It feels like time has stopped.

I’ve had pets before that died, but I never felt as connected to them as I did to poor little Bama, my adorable little brown-and-white miniature Chihuahua puppy. Right from the time we brought him home, we knew something was wrong.

He pushed away his food bowl with his nose when we’d try to feed him, and he’d only play for about 10 seconds before stopping. My stomach tied in knots when that happened.

My mom and dad decided that we needed to take him back to the vet, where we got him. The vet was really far away, and I held him in my lap for the nearly one-and-a-half hour drive to Fairfield. When we got there, the vet and his assistant did a short check-up on him. The look of worry on the vet’s face filled me with fear. My palms were sweaty, and I felt like I was about to throw up.

“We need to keep him here for a few days so that we can give him some medicine when he needs it and figure out if he’s sick or just having trouble adjusting,” the vet said. I could tell he knew Bama was sick, that he only said “if” because I was in the room.

I walked into my room when I got home, dog toys strewn all over, and Bama’s food and water bowl on the floor. It felt like he wasn’t coming home.

When Monday came, and I had to go back to school, I wanted to stay home to be there when the vet called to tell us how Bama was doing.

Every day, I would ask my dad the same thing when he picked me up.

“How is he? When do we get to go back and get him?”

He would explain that the vet hadn’t called yet, and I’d feel my face get hot, tears stinging my eyes because I just wanted Bama back in my arms.

The last day I asked that question, I walked out of school with a smile on my face, feeling strange on the inside. For some reason, I felt like I was supposed to be sad.

“How is he? When do we get to go back and get him?”

Today I got my answer. Not the one I wanted.