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The dog

by FionaSharp

“Come on, Scout,” my owner says. “Time to go.”

She gives me a big breakfast with some bacon crumbles in it, much more lavish than normal. I lick her hand to thank her. She laughs softly.

“Let’s go in the car, Scouty,” she says.

I hop into the car, my leash trailing behind me. I scratch the window and look at her pleadingly.

“Oh, all right,” she relents, rolling it down for me. I stick my head out and bark happily. I love car rides with my owner!

We pull up to the vet, and she pets my head. I look up at her and notice her eyes are glazed over with unshed tears. “Time to go, Scout,” she says.

I strut into the vet confidently. My owner wouldn’t let anything happen to me. A doctor takes us into a back room and gives me a shot. Crying in the corner silently is my owner. I don’t understand why. It’s just an injection. She takes me to get these all the time.

But now I feel tired. So, so tired. My owner put her hand to her mouth and made a sobbing noise, the kind only someone makes when they’re in mortal pain, when their heart is being wrenched from their chest. I lick my muzzle again. Why is she crying? I’m fine. I’ll be okay.

After a second of struggle against an unseen force, my legs cripple beneath me. I fall to the unforgiving, cold tile floor of the vet’s office. But I’m not worried as I gaze lovingly into my owner’s eyes.

She wouldn’t let anything happen to me. 

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Points: 410
Reviews: 3

Mon Feb 26, 2024 9:33 pm
ellieatkinson9 wrote a review...

Aw, that's so cute!!
I love that the dog has hope in its owner, no matter what. I also love that the owner tried to be strong and keep things as normal as possible for her dog at the start.
This sentence: 'My owner put her hand to her mouth and made a sobbing noise, the kind only someone makes when they're in mortal pain, when their heart is being wrenched from their chest' is beautiful. It enables me to imagine the type of racking sobs echoing from her body and touches my heart at the same time. I was just wondering if 'only' is supposed to go after 'someone' instead of before? Just a thought.
This story is super short, and I wish there were more! The confidence the dog has in the owner breaks my heart, and the choice to write the story from the dog's point of view was meaningful.
Maybe at the start though, the dog could notice tear tracks down the owner's face but not know what they were? Then the dog could lick her face and maybe this could make the owner more sad, confusing the dog.
All of these are just ideas, but your piece was lovely! I have a little dog currently, and I can't imagine what I would do if I had to put him down. This was heartfelt and amazing!!

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FionaSharp says...

Thank you so much!!!! I usually don't write stuff like this, so the feedback means a lot to me. :)

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82 Reviews

Points: 1123
Reviews: 82

Mon Feb 19, 2024 4:59 pm
Ley wrote a review...

Hello, Ley here for a quick review on this awesome piece!

I have to say, coming from someone who has put a dog down in the past, I felt this deep in my soul. And honestly, I can only imagine how hard it would've been to write this without bawling into a million tears, so I applaud you for that, because this certainly was worth the read!

The way you wrote this from the dog's perspective really hit home. I think I was crying by the time they got in the car because I already knew what was going to happen. Good thing I prepared myself!

As for the content, this was a super solid piece. I was able to feel emotionally connected to the dog and the owner by the end of this piece!

One thing I would suggest, though, would be to describe more emotion from the owner when they're feeding their dog for the last time. I remember when I did it, I couldn't stop crying. Actually, the whole morning I couldn't stop crying. In the car I couldn't stop crying. Maybe the owner didn't show much emotion because they didn't want it to hurt more than it already did?

Overall, this was a wonderful short piece (even though it was super sad). I hope to read more of your work in the future!

With Love,
Ley <3

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FionaSharp says...

Thank you!!!! I'm so sorry about your dog. But thank you so much for the review, Ley!!! And I cried so much writing this that it's actually embarrassing.

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440 Reviews

Points: 6836
Reviews: 440

Mon Feb 19, 2024 8:13 am
Wolfi wrote a review...

Hey Fiona!

Oof, this is a heartbreaking one! I had to say goodbye to my little angel on earth recently, and if you're writing this I wouldn't be surprised if you too have a pup in your life that you cherish! I commend you for taking on a unique perspective here by telling the end of Scout's life through their own point of view, aptly naive and cheery despite the grim reality.

What first comes to mind in terms of critiques is that it doesn't make sense to me why a seemingly happy, healthy dog is euthanized. This story actually does a good job at capturing the essence of canine optimism and how wonderful they are at living in the moment. Maybe the dog is experiencing some pain, but from their narration at least, that pain is easily overshadowed by the excitement of the moment. Still, though, dog owners (particularly ones who love their pups as much as Scout's clearly does) are obviously reluctant to put their pets down: most aren't going to make that agonizing decision until they know for certain that their pet is suffering too much to go on. I didn't get one glimpse of suffering from Scout; in fact, they're able to leap into the car themselves! Perhaps there's a reason other than sickness why Scout had to be put down?

My second critique is that this lovely little tale definitely deserves to be drawn out a bit more. Consider playing with suspense, lengthening each scene with Scout's naive, sunny descriptions while also dropping subtle hints for the (human) reader that something's not right. I would also work on exploring the owner's character more, through Scout's eyes, of course. What little things about her do they love? Expanding on what I asked about in terms of why Scout is being put down, can you leave more hints to help the reader piece together the truth of the situation?

That very last sentence, echoing Scout's earlier line when they first enter the vet, is just agonizing. So much love and trust... we don't deserve our precious doggies!

Thank you for sharing this lovely little tear-jerker! I'm reminded a little bit of the "A Dog's Purpose" books where everything is from the dog's point of view as they navigate several different lives. Reading things from different perspectives always helps us see the world in a different light.

Keep up the good work!

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FionaSharp says...

Thank you so much, Wolfi!!!! The critique is always appreciated, lol. I'm so sorry about your fur baby! That must be really hard.

I've actually never put down any animals, so I COMPLETELY overlooked why Scout would even have been put down. Up to the reader, I guess? Lol.

Thank you so much for the feedback!!!!

"Everything you can imagine is real."
— Pablo Picasso