Folio · 2017

Sick Dog

Nhung Lam

Gladys was my best friend. She was a golden retriever with fluffy soft fur and was taller than me when she sat on her hind legs. We got Gladys when the old lady next door passed away. The son of the old lady didn’t want the dog so we took her in. She and I were inseparable.

One day, she and I were watching TV together. We were on the floor. She wrapped her body around me like a U and I rested my head on her back. I remember we were watching something with dogs in it because it was enjoyable for Gladys. It was fun to watch her wag her tail when she saw another dog.

“Your nose is so dry. Poor thing is sick!” the lady on the TV said.

I checked my dog’s nose too. It was dry.

“Are you sick girl?”

She just looked at me. I got up to go to the kitchen where I knew the medicine was being kept. Gladys followed. My mom always gave me some pills when I was sick so I wanted to get some for Gladys. I was too short to get to the cabinet so I had to get a dining room chair. I climbed the chair and stood on the counter. When I opened the cabinet, there were so many pills that I didn’t know which ones to choose.

I couldn’t read the labels, so I opened the bottles to see what the pills inside looked like. I remember taking a long time to open them all but finally, I got all of the bottles open. I poured them on the counter and looked for the ones that my mom would give me. There were a few that looked like the round brown pills my mom would give me but they had come from different bottles. I decided I would give all of those to Gladys since one of them would be right. I put the pills back into the bottles and put them back into the cabinet. I tried to put them back in the same places because I didn’t want to get in trouble.

I put my hand out with the pills and offered them to Gladys. She sniffed them a little bit but didn’t seem interested.

“You need to take medicine to get better!”

I straddled her body between my legs and I pried her mouth open and threw the pills in. She coughed and gagged them on to the floor. I gathered the pills off of the kitchen floor. The pills were wet and had picked up some dirt and bits of dried food and hair. I picked off the bits of filth and tried to put them back into her mouth but she wriggled out of my small arms. I decided I would have to trick her. I took the pills and put them in my mouth.

“Mmm so good!” I said with my mouth full of the bitter pills.

They were not tasty at all but Gladys usually wanted whatever I was eating. I spit them into my hand and offered them to her. She licked up one of the pills and ate it. She was not pleased. She tried to cough it up but it was too late. I knew she wouldn’t fall for that twice. I had to come up with something else. The pills were slowly melting in my hand, and that gave me an idea. I decided I would throw the rest of the pills into her water bowl.

I pushed them around with my finger hoping that it would help melt them faster. When they were finally dissolved, I poured juice into the bowl. Gladys couldn’t resist and she lapped up the bowl clean. Her little tummy expanded from all the liquid.

I thought about what else you did when you were sick. Of course, the next step was soup. I checked the fridge to see what food was in there. My parents usually left food for us to eat while they were at work but there was no soup. I looked in the pantry for some. I prefer Campbell’s chicken noodle soup when I’m sick but all we had was Progresso beef stew. I wanted to heat it up but I wasn’t allowed to use the stove if no one was home, so I poured the cold soup into her doggy bowl.

She wolfed down the soup. Her already tight stomach bloated with all of the extra food she was given.

“Ok, now you have to go to bed.”

We went upstairs and got into bed. I snuggled up with her under my big blanket, and we went to sleep together. Later when I woke up, I noticed that Gladys had moved to the foot of my bed and had thrown up all over the room. Poor thing was so sick. Good thing I was there to take care of her.

Folio · 2017