The tiny Chesapeake Bay retriever puppy was the rich color of a warm spice, so, we decided to give him its name: Nutmeg. He was my family’s first pet, and though we had no way of knowing when we brought him home for the first time, Nutmeg’s would be a short and difficult life.
Nutmeg was a sweet, gentle, loyal pup. Not long after we adopted him, he began experiencing strange episodes, during which we could see the expression on his face turn from kind and innocent to evil and violent. At first, he would snarl at imaginary foes; later, he began chasing his tail in manic fits of rage. When we would yell out his name and clap our hands loudly, he would shake his head, blink, and snap back to reality. Usually, he would crawl toward us and seek comfort, perhaps even unaware of what had just occurred. It was a frightening metamorphosis to witness; I can only imagine the torment it must have caused him.
When this uncontrollable behavior turned aggressive toward us – he tried to attack my mother once – we returned to the veterinarian, who diagnosed his condition (a brain lesion) and told my parents we had no choice but to euthanize him. Nutmeg was just eight months old.
Devastated, we took solace in knowing that we gave Nutmeg the most loving of homes and heaped upon him the most affectionate attention any animal could ever want. It was all too short a life, marred by a rare medical problem for which there was no cure, but we made it as comfortable as we could for him.
Sadly, there are countless other animals like Nutmeg in our world, struggling daily, through no fault of their own, with terrible challenges beyond their control. If there is anything our charitable organization can do to alleviate that suffering – even if only temporarily – then we will have achieved our humble goal.
Nutmeg was with us only briefly. His body has long since perished, but our love for him never has, nor will it ever. His life, ephemeral though it may have been, nonetheless brought us great joy. Through this charity that now bears his name, we hope to ensure that his beautiful, wonderful soul lives on forever.