By: Nicole Lane
“He can barely walk,” Angel whined to her mother, “we have to take him to get help at the vet.”
“We can’t afford to fix it, honey. We can barely afford your own hospital bills for check-ups and the payments for your transportation,” her mother stated. She helped the curly-haired poodle onto the wheelchair and into Angel’s lap. “As much as I want to help him, the procedure to get his surgery and prosthetic is just too much for us right now.”
Angel examined the swollen mass on his left rear paw, careful to not cause him any more pain. Her finger slightly brushed the tumor, causing Benji to let out a small whimper. He seemed drained, as if he was too tired to move.
“I’ve been saving up. I can use the money I’ve gotten from birthdays and tutoring over the years,” Angel said in an optimistic and hopeful tone.
“No. We’ve already discussed that money will be used for your college education after you graduate.”
“Mom, I have five more years to save up more money. And I can apply for scholarships. I’m a kid with a disability and I’m smart. People love that,” she pleaded, looking down at the dog in her lap. “But Benji’s in so much pain, I can see it. He won’t even stand anymore.”
“I’m sorry honey, but the final answer is no. Every dollar counts when it comes to your education. I love that dog just as much as you, but you’re my biggest priority over all. I have to go to work,” she said while raising an eyebrow at Angel, “someone has to pay all those bills.” She hugged her and gave her a kiss on the forehead before heading out the door.
“Love you,” Angel responded, watching her mother leave the house. She waited until her mom pulled out of the driveway before going back to her room and grabbing the saved up money stashed under her bed. She couldn’t let Benji suffer without a fight. Her health may be her mother’s primary concern, but Benji supported Angel throughout her diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis when she needed it the most.
Keeping the dog as secure as she could in her lap, she carefully wheeled out the door, locking it behind her. She rolled down the sidewalk, passing two blocks to get to the nearest Veterinary Hospital.
As she wheeled herself inside the lobby, she drew stares from the other patients waiting for their appointments. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a stack of cash, smacking it on the receptionist’s desk. “This is Benji. He’s going to need his rear left leg amputated and a prosthetic put in place,” she demanded.
Nicole Lane has traveled to over 18 countries and 45 states, as her parents dragged her onto her first airplane when she was only two years old. When she’s not on a flight to the Philippines or on a road trip across the United States, she’s at home with her toothless chihuahua and disabled poodle. Her unique mutts keep her in check as she often finds herself stressing over small decisions or conflicts.