Only a handful of things have carved a lasting memory in the back of my mind. The day I was given my pug, Chico, is one of the rare memories.
It was Christmas Eve and my dad entered the kitchen bundled up with something in his coat. My parents had banded together to get me the dog I had wanted since I was a child, and at the age of seventeen they finally cracked. When he pulled out a tiny ball of wrinkles, I couldn’t contain the excitement. Chico was the runt and the last one to be selected. How the barely open eyes of this puppy could not force anyone to fall in love is beyond me. Everyone that passed over my Chico doesn’t understand what they missed out on, but I am incredibly glad they left him for me.
This was my first day with Chico. There were so many days with him that I could recount and smile about. Running circles in the street when all you wanted was for him to come in. Peeing on Ray Ray as she sat in the grass oblivious. Crying like a baby as you left him in the car to pump gas. Never have I met a dog with more personality.
What is unfortunate and almost to depressing to recount is the last day. My Chico slowly lost the use of his back legs and became ill. It came to a point where my family had to let go of him to prevent any pain or suffering, but it was the hardest decision and if it weren’t for my mother I doubt it could have been made. When I received the call that hew was gone it was one of those moments that blindside you, leaving you standing in a puddle of sadness.
I do my best to show no emotion in public. There has only been one other instance that broke me down and that was the death of my aunt. This loss should have been expected, but the thought of Chico passing left me tearing up in the corner of a dark bar. Fortunately, I have friends that are there to offer any comfort, not that there is anything anyone can do.
My greatest fear is that my poor memory will get the best of me and I will look back someday and not truly remember. Like childhood pictures, I know them but I have no memory of them. I hope that the eight years I had with Chico will remain vividly present. I miss my Chico and can’t help but stare at his pictures and wish that life weren’t so set in stone with the rules of life and death.