By Stella Kongonis
There are souls who only briefly stop by and say goodbye to this world before they have really lived. It is less bad for the souls than for those they leave behind. If asking about a meaning, one could believe that even the smallest creature can fulfill a great task, even if it only weighs 800g. It can touch the hearts of many people, make things visible and sometimes even be the butterfly's little flap of wings that changes the world.
Lotte is such a soul. She is born on January 14th, 2021 in Berlin as the thickest of four puppies into four children's hands. Ten-year-old Rabia and her sixteen-year-old sister Mathilda are over the moon. For the first time in months. Because of Corona, they are robbed of their carefree children's lives and wild youth. If there is school at all, they are forced to keep distance and wear masks, meeting friends is forbidden and hobbies are not possible. So there is not much that parents can do to see bright children's eyes again. Having the opportunity to allow baby dogs is certainly one of the greatest gifts you can make to your children. Especially in times when there is only talk of hygiene, distance and death every day, little friends like that can counter the state-decreed madness with something beautiful to cuddle, love and take care of.
The dog parents are miniature schnauzers, one black and one white. Lotte opts for yellow hair, which later turns gray. A nice compromise to her parents. But because of Corona, Lotte has to die again 9 weeks later. She might have been saved had not so many people behaved strangely since Corona. Trapped in fear and obedience, they seem to push humanity and warmth aside and instead carry out all government regulations with millimeter precision, without questioning, thinking for themselves or remembering logic.
After just a few days, Lottes siblings overtake her weight, while drinking she falls asleep faster than the others and 4 weeks later it becomes clear that she has to be examined. The family drives Lotte to the old, friendly vet who has always looked after Lotte's parents very carefully in the past.
Having fallen victim to the fear of corona, he can hardly breathe behind his FFP2 mask and probably no longer think properly as well, because he forgets to check Lotte's heart. As it turns out later, unfortunately much too late, Lotte has a large hole in her heart septum and thus does not get enough oxygen.
But the little one is so strong that she still develops and even listens to her name. She comes wobbly on her short legs and makes the whole family laugh. Together they all take special care of Lotte and always offer her extra food. The yogurt, which she especially likes to lick, gives her a sweet, white mustache. At night she is even allowed to sleep in the bed of the girls because the other puppies are already bigger and a bit rough. It's a good time, full of care and love.
But then Lotte gets worse and the father of the family takes her to another veterinary practice. The vet is alarmed because she diagnoses fluid in Lotte's body. But she too forgets to listen to her little heart. The family would have been spared a lot of suffering, because the hole was now so big that it could not have been overheard. The doctor sends the family man to the veterinary clinic.
While he is waiting outside the clinic for five hours with the puppy, he is informed ten times on his cell phone that, due to Corona, only emergency services that cost twice as much are possible. He cannot even express his wish to receive quick treatment, no matter what it costs. Finally a doctor calls and carries out the anamnesis interview with him over the phone, even though he is right in front of the door. Since his medical mask is insufficient and the veterinary clinic can only be entered with FFP2 masks, which the father does not have, Lotte has to go alone for the examination.
Again, fluid is found in her lungs. But the doctors cannot say what that means. She has to stay in the clinic. The father of the family is not allowed to give little Lotte a blanket from home with the familiar smell of the family. Why? Corona!
Totally concerned, the family calls the veterinary clinic all weekend, but no one answers the phone. Lotte has been alone in the clinic since Friday afternoon and they have no idea how she is doing or whether she is even still alive. At some point in the evening a student answers and tells them that no information will be given over the phone on weekends. Why? Corona! Mathilda and Rabia suffer terribly. They have been damaged by the lockdown for months anyway, and now this.
On Monday the call comes from the veterinary clinic: Lotte's heart has a hole. She is in pain and has no chance of survival. She must be put to sleep. Full of tears, the whole family sets out to say goodbye to little Lotte. The two sisters are infinitely sad, but they still want to be part of Lotte's walk across the rainbow bridge.
First of all, all four family members wearing cloth masks are allowed to wait for their baby dog in the treatment room. A nurse brings her in. Lotte's little tail wiggles with joy. She nibbles excitedly on all the family's fingers. Many tears flow. Children's tears. Women's tears. Man's tears. The doctor joins them. She is very nice and empathetic, even addresses Lotte by name and caresses her. But she has to obey rules, strict rules!
Because of Corona, only two people are allowed to attend the euthanasia and they have to wear FFP2 masks. For Lotte's sake and for the sake of her grief-stricken daughters, the mother foregoes a discussion for the first time. She has to decide whether to leave her crying children alone while a puppy dog dies in their arms.
Although all the windows are open and they have been in the room together for some time, the doctor cannot allow this for another 10 minutes. She understands that this is terrible, but it is also the case in normal intensive care units. The parents look at each other and think the same thing: They are grateful that they are "only" in a veterinary clinic and that they do not have to say goodbye to a loved one under these circumstances.
Fortunately, the treatment room is on the ground floor. The parents are allowed to stand in front of the open window from outside and attend from a distance. The two girls stand bravely alone with Lotte, kiss their beloved baby dog one last time and cry while it falls asleep.
Little Lotte, thank you for being with us.
Please only come back if the madness in this world is over.