Sunday, April 15, 2012

Trifextra Week 12: The Apology

For this week's  Trifextra challenge, we have to write a letter of apology in exactly 33 words.  Selecting my apology was hard because by now I have so many things I wish I'd done differently, hurts I recognize now that at the time I was too self-centered to care about. This is one I wish I could make right, but never can. Sometimes things are that way.

(POST_SUBMISSION NOTE: OH CRAP! THIRTY_THREE! I kept thinking '333.' Oh well, that's me disqualified. Still, I'm going to do the exercise anyway, because now it seems even more cool.)

Here's the corrected exercise, just for fun. Good luck, everyone!

To The Two Happy Boys

I could tell myself: I was new, I was young; I’d been left in charge anyway. The shelter was full and I was trying to be practical. Difficult choices are part of life.

All of this was true, but it doesn’t change one bit what you lost. I can’t help but think that if I’d known that “American Bulldog” was an actual breed and not some made-up name designed to hide pit-bull ancestry, I might have contacted that breed’s rescue. It might not have made a difference anyway, but after twenty years, I still wonder what might have happened if I’d made a phone call, one phone call. Would you both have found good homes? I’m sure you would have; you were affectionate and gentle, all six-months-paws and face kisses. Oh, and not housebroken. Right. Easily addressed, but not in a shelter that has little money or staffing, where housebroken dogs come in every day.

I’m sorry I didn’t make that call. I’m sorry I led you instead to the back where you each in turn came up to me trustingly, tail wagging, while a volunteer held off the vein and I administered the injection. I’m sorry your bodies went from happy and energetic to limp and lifeless in a matter of seconds. That I cried during the process doesn’t make it better. I merely had a bad day; you died for the simple crime of existing on a day the shelter was full.

You weren’t alone that year. There were many others also unjustly convicted, many whom I sent on, gently, compassionately, frequently with tears. Those are other apologies I also make, also without self-forgiveness.

I’m sorry that people are stupid and irresponsible. I’m sorry that you and so many others have to suffer for it. It’s twenty years later, and you’d be gone by now anyway, but oh, the warm sun and the fresh grass and the whole wonderful wide world of things you could have loved.

I’m sorry. Every day. 


Libby Rodriguez said...

I'm sorry too..

Your piece is well-written.

Jennifer Worrell said...

Oh, wow! That's so hard! I'm sorry for you...great job!

Diane Turner said...

Your post made me teary. As an animal lover, I feel the pain of which you write. Nicely done.

Amanda said...

Wow. I actually cried reading this. Great apology. I'm sorry you were put in that situation.

Rachael said...

Wow. That would be one of the hardest jobs in the world. I'm sorry that this still haunts you.

JC said...

Gosh thanks, everyone. Although I just realized it was THIRTY THREE, not Three hundred thirty-three words. Whoops! Can I blame the expectorant buzz?!?!?!


Disqualified. :-)

JC said...

I worked at an animal shelter in Vermont for almost a year. The thoughtlessness you see is unimaginable. The irony is that in order to do your job well, you really have to care about animals, and because you do, it tears you up. Predictably, turnover is high. These were two 6-month old American Bulldogs that a man brought in because his son, the owner, wasn't caring for them, and they lived in a basement and were not housebroken. They were big, good, good dogs. The rest of the staff was at an out-of-state workshop, and I had to make the call. Their story is not unique, except that we could sometimes find a breed-specific rescue to take the purebreds, usually in another state, but I didn't know that this was a breed. In the end, there were just too many homeless animals and not enough places to put them. I probably euthanized over 300 animals in 10 months. it never got easy, which I suppose is good. Never again.

karen said...

Aw J, that's really sad. I hope the exercise was exactly what you needed it to be, and btw, rules are meant to be broken by the words that must come out. xox