I remember the first time we got you as a puppy, it was when my granduncle was diagnosed with cancer. We bought it from him to ease his burden off the many dogs he had and loved. All through the way home, I remember playing with you in the car, even though you were so sleepy. I remember how my dad hid treats under the blanket we gave you and how it got you sniffing in excitement. I remember when you got home, the other dogs were so excited to see you too, even though you growled at them in fear.
Dear Conan, I remembered the first day you went around our house. You with your over-sized head and paws hesitated for so long to cross the 3 inched drain while we rolled around laughing, then yelled in horror when you decided to immerse yourself in the dirty water. I remember the first night with you too. Like any other puppy, you howled and howled and cried, and my sister was barely awake, comforting you.
I remember the times when you saw me holding a shovel and proceeded to dig holes with me, the times you came in after the rain covered in mud, the times you cracked a whole rib bone within 2 minutes, the times you always ran after the stream of water flowing out from the hose, the times you bit the firecrackers while they were still ‘crackling’ cause it was too loud for you and also the time you singed your whiskers while you casually carried a piece of burning paper in your mouth.
Dear Conan, I will remember the times when so much tears flowed down from my face at 4 am, when I dared not utter a sound for fear of waking others up and you kept whining and licking my face till I smiled again. When I brought you out running for weeks, and everyone was impressed by how a girl can run such a big dog, but they didn’t see all the pulling and shouting I gave you, and the bad moods and snaps you gave me. I will remember the times I keep annoying you while you lay down and try to wiggle away in vain, and how your eyes get so big when I open a food container.
Dear Conan, I remember all this because it has only been 8 years with you. The year started with the most terrible news. Dear Conan, we have gone through so many tough times with you, from your skin disease, to the multiple times we had to pull maggots off your butt, to the times you were so sick, to the times when your fur matted and you skin was so irritated we had to put pure coconut oil on you. But none of this has prepared me for what is going on now.
When your testicles was so inflamed and then started to bleed. I held a container full of talcum powder to your balls for goodness sake, just to stop the bleeding! But deep down I knew from the vet’s reaction, it wouldn’t be as simple as tick fever. You got your operation done and all seemed well, until the wound started to bleed again the very next day. It was cancer for sure now, malignant cancer.
Dear Conan, right now I am just so sad to feel more of your rib cage than I did yesterday. I am so sad that no matter how big your eyes are, how much we feed you, you get skinnier everyday. You sleep around the house all day, you stagger when you walk and you’re eyes are red while your head is hot.
But dear Conan, I will remember the moments we have together now. I am so happy every time you’re still alive when I come back from school. I smile when I hug your tired body and gently pat your head till you sleep. I laugh when you suddenly wake up frightened and drop back to sleep when you see me by your side. But unlike all your other illnesses, we can’t find a cure, we cannot expect you to wake up tomorrow feeling better.
But dear Conan, dear big, sweet, loving, loyal, brave, playful, food-loving, loud-barking, fast-running being, I am glad to tell everyone about you while you’re still alive and breathing, my friend.