Changes – Taffy, we’ll always love you

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The first thing that I can remember clearly was about ten years ago. In my house there have always been pets, but this one was different.

Taffy, the golden retriever was about eight when I first remember him, but he still had all the energy of a puppy. He was vibrant and always excited to see me, you could play all day with him, and I often did. It didn’t take long for us to make a special, unbreakable bond.

He was perfect in every way. People would say that there dog was just for companionship, but Taffy was much more, he was the third child of the family. He excelled at being a dog; he went further than a normal dog could ever go. It was like he could telepathically anticipate commands and would go out of his way to execute them, when out for a walk you would merely have to point or nod and it would be done. With him at your side you could laugh fear in the face. He was easily bigger than any other dog in the neighbourhood and yet was kinder than Jesus. No other dog, or person, dared challenge him or you.

Later on after only a month at the most of school, I arrived home to find Taffy collapsed on the floor. My dad was frantically running around trying to find his car keys. Me, my dad and Taffy were in the car and under away in less than five minutes, and travelling at break neck speed to the vets.

The car came to a screeching holt, inches away from hitting the main doors. Me and my dad both lifted him, he was a heavy dog, and sprinted to the desk. The vet immediately led us to a room. The vet’s expression was glum, and my dad’s face went white when I heard the words;

“We’ll have to put him down”

Those words will stick with me forever.

Being four at the time I had no concept of death, and my dad’s attempts to explain, hindered by tears, proved fruitless. Taffy took one final breath and slowly lowered his head to the table, where he lay unresponsive to the world.

A second dose of death

Many years later in my penultimate year of primary school I had a shocking experience, which brought home the idea that everybody is vulnerable.

The day in question started off well enough. The rain had held off so far and the day was beginning to look up. Little did I know of the trouble in store for the class.

The afternoon had arrived and it was a joyous occasion, for it was only a matter of minutes before we could go home. Suddenly a stamp on the floor like a herd of elephants followed by the shrill sound of a chair being scraped along the floor, for what seemed like an eternity and then silence. The agonising silence was ended by a body falling to the floor.

In the seconds that this all happened, it was difficult to comprehend what this event was. The class’s horror was conveyed on the petrified face which the teacher wore.

The rest of this tragic episode is a blur. I vaguely remember ambulance men taking him away but that is all.

When at the hospital he was diagnosed with leukaemia. It was awful that he be struck down at such an early time of his life with such a ravenous sickness. He battled bravely with pain for weeks, until he was overcome and finally struck down by cruel death.

My only wish was to stop his suffering; in hospital he would always have a smile, even with the chemotherapy that possibly was doing him more harm than good. He lived to help you and put Mother Theresa to shame.

Hospitals again

Tonsils cause a lot of pain and discomfort, but my sister’s experience goes further than just minor pain. In comparison a normal patient would have had a triangle playing in their throat while she had a rock band playing non stop; it was like Satan himself had possessed them and prohibited their removal. For this experience we travel back in time seven years, to 1995.

Just under two weeks she was in hospital, and by then me and my sister had both associated hospital with death, disease and needles, she was especially scared of needles.

I was frightened to enter the building; I couldn’t imagine what it was like to be cooped up in there for two weeks, with no possibility of escape.

One day after school I remember being forced to go in to the ward where my mum and sister sat on a bed. I barely had time to sit down when a doctor rushes with an entourage of nurses carrying with him a brown leather bag and carefully begins to pull out a small bottle and a large needle.

I see my sister begin to struggle with two hefty nurses, with more strength than someone her age should have. I clearly remember the doctor stressing the fact that we need to do this so that she can go to theatre. On the moment that the needle was about to enter she let off her secret weapon, she did a piercing scream which left your ears ringing for at least a minute. Luckily the doctor got a message on his pager and he decided to leave it for another day.

Many times this happened, sometimes with biting, they even tried it in her sleep, but still no luck.

It got to a point when only the most doctors and nurses would even approach her. My mum managed to persuade her that the tonsils had to come out, and she would’ve gone home sooner if she hadn’t resisted. She may of broke her down when she mentioned that she will have ice cream everyday. Obviously the recovery period was into weeks rather than days.

I apologise if the essay seems a little short, but it has been very difficult just to get the memories to resurface. Also I occasionally forgot what I was writing about mid way through, so I had to start writing a new thing to be changed and not that many events have happened to me which I haven’t already put in childhood memories.

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