Sunday, January 9, 2011


Since my last post, I have completed my first semester of medical school successfully.

I regret not thinking to write about the feeling of stress that led up to our first cumulative midterm exams, because I don't think I'd be able to do it justice now. Needless to say it was draining.

When the day came and went however, the usual relief wasn't quite there. I didn't get the sense that my success was due to my diligence. Rather, I felt that had I spent less time than I did, that I would have met with failure. I'm constantly told that this "desperation" is a good thing, and a sign that I'm making a sincere effort. I often question myself in that regard, but that's a thought for another day.

I went back home to Bellingham to spend the holidays with my family, but was met with bad news. My dog Yumi had been unable to eat for a couple of days, and the veterinarian hadn't been able to come up with a definite reason. She had always been a hyperactive bundle of energy who learned to run before she learned to walk, but she could do little more than slowly move toward me and crawl onto my lap when I came home that day.

To make a short story shorter, she underwent surgery and they found a piece of fabric or towel that she had eaten. This had apparently bunched up and tied up her small intestine, causing abrasions and internal bleeding. The vet was able to remove it, and a day later resected the gut in the hopes of recovery, but she passed away a few hours after.

We drove to the overnight pet clinic to get her body, and I saw her laying on the table. Her eyes were half open and she was still warm. It was almost as if she was just waking up in the morning, if not for how still she was.

I honestly can't recall ever feeling so sad and empty.

I had taken care of Yumi from when she was a puppy, and was there every step of the way as she grew up. When we first got her, one of the peculiar habits we found was that she would sometimes put one paw in the bowl of water she was drinking from as she lapped it up. She was always wary of eating food given by strangers, but had an insatiable appetite otherwise. She was gentle and sweet at times, and incredibly yappy and loud others.

Yumi the first day we got her, sleeping on the couch

Tossing and turning a bit, I guess

Her right ear was floppy for the first few months

Yumi as a puppy with my sister in our lawn in Bellingham

We had her tied up in the kitchen so she would always be around people (and food) back home. She always got excited when people came over to use the water dispenser on the fridge, thinking it would be an ice cube headed her way. She loved playing with our other dog (her dad) Snowy, and would play with him until he was exhausted.

Still the cutest puppy I have ever seen

Very lucky to get this yawn on camera :)

Looking up at me. She usually avoided looking straight at the camera, so this took a lot of tries.

Me and my Yumi in Bellingham

I took her to dog training classes, where she was by far the quickest learner. She was terrified of most other dogs, though.

Yumi always tucked herself on my legs during classes

Yumi picking out her prize for doing her trick correctly

Graduation day with proud dad

She came with me to medical school for the first few months. She slept in my room and would stand on her hind legs and shuffle back and forth along the side of my bed, trying to lick my arm or face to wake me up when my alarm went off every morning. I'd roll over to the other side of the bed, and she'd run around and try it again over there.. Haha. "Clevah girl."

On her hind legs as a puppy

We used to play hide-and-seek. I'd tell her to go out of my room, and then leave the door only slightly ajar. I'd pick a spot to hide in and she'd run back in. She always checked behind the door first before anything else.. For some reason she could never find me if I hid behind the bed, so I would peek from under and see that she would check different places and keep turning around. After a few minutes she would walk back outside to try to look for me elsewhere.. It was always the highlight of my night after a long day of studying.
Yumi sleeping next to my feet while I studied in Yakima

I wish I had been able to spend more time with her. She always brought me happiness and having her taught me a lot about caring for others.

First night we had Yumi

Yumi in snow taller than she was

Yumi in action

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