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My Guardian

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It was a crisp, cool, late-autumn morning; I was 11 years old and going outside to catch the bus to go to school like I did every morning. Also like every morning, I had trouble getting out the front door.
My driveway was long and windy. Thick, eerie fog cloaked the front yard, and it was still dark outside. What if something could get me, something other than what my eyes could physically see, like a bear or a wolf? So many questions, fueled by fear, would flood my head as I approached to open the door. But once I got outside, I was completely relieved; the fear of being harmed by anything would fade, because my dog Bo would always walk me to the bus stop to make sure I boarded safely. We would wait patiently until we saw the lights of the bus flash in the distance and heard the squealing of its brakes as it stopped at the driveway right before mine. When the bus stopped and opened the door for me, I’d give Bo a big hug, board the bus, and make my way to school. When I got into my seat, I would look back as we pulled away from my house, and I would see him watch me disappear over the hill.

I went through the bus ride to school, staring out the window, and thinking of how great it was going to be when I got home because I would get to play with Bo. I loved spending all my time with him. When it would rain, we would run outside, jumping into the puddles until we were muddy and wet. When it snowed, we would frolic around the front yard, roll in the snow and make silhouettes of ourselves. During the summer, we would take long strolls on the gravel path in the back fields to the woods, admiring the wildlife and chasing rabbits. I even procrastinated all my homework assignments from school just to play with Bo all day, every day, until it got dark. No matter what season it was, the weather or situation, we always enjoyed being with each other; we were destined to be best friends until the end. That was the way it had always been, and it seemed like how it would always be, until one grave day; a day that afflicted my life and all of my beliefs forever.

The bell rang and I ran out of class to the bus. We were off to go home. The hour long bus ride seemed longer than usual every time I rode it, but I knew it would be all worth it when I reached my destination. The bus pulled up to my house, I got off and went around to my driveway, but noticed something odd; Bo wasn’t outside to greet and escort me inside. “Maybe mom forgot to let him out” I thought. I shrugged it off and walked up the driveway. I went inside and ate the peanut better and jelly sandwiches that my mom made for me after school as I always did. I sat down at the table, getting comfortable as I munched on my snack. When my mom wasn’t looking, I would always scoop a big spoonful of peanut butter and give it to Bo under the table, but for some reason, he didn’t sneak under the table for me to do so. “Weird, he would never miss out on a spoonful of peanut butter,” I thought. Finally, I asked “Mom, where’s Bo?” My mom stopped what she was doing and shuttered a little. Then she turned to me and there were tears rolling down her face. My dad walked into the kitchen, saw my mom, and started to cry as well. That’s when I knew something was very wrong. Finally, she took a deep breath, collecting herself. She told me that Bo was killed while I was at school.
It seemed like the world stopped as my eyes welled with tears. I went hysterical, in so much grief and denial. She then explained to me what happened after I was calm enough to listen. While I was at school, Bo had been walking on the other side of the fence in the early afternoon, enjoying the scenery and the warmth of the sunlight. Nearby neighbors were in their gardens and taking care of their livestock, while my mom was inside cleaning the house. Suddenly, there was a loud rumble in the distance. A blazing red Firebird was speeding down the road, which appeared to have a young female at the wheel. It was odd, as normally people do not speed on the back roads, because of the high risk of hitting something. My closest neighbor looked up, and watched the Firebird fly towards my house. The lady veered a little to the side of the road to the point where she was riding dangerously close to the grass. Then, in the blink of an eye, she swerved over to the side of the road. My neighbor then saw a horrifying sight; Bo turned his head, and before he could react, she ran over him from the backside up, drove back onto the road, and sped off without stopping to see what she had hit. My neighbor then ran down his driveway, picked up Bo, and rushed him to my house. He frantically got my mother and she loaded him into her car and drove off as quickly as she could to the closest animal hospital she could find, while she called my dad to tell him the news.
The animal hospital took him in as an emergency patient, and quickly hoisted him on a massive sling to keep his back aligned; his spine had broken when the car struck him. They had to put him on the strongest painkillers they could to keep him stable while they examined the damages. After a long wait, my parents were finally called into his room. The veterinarians explained that because his spine was completely broken beyond repair, he would not be able to function in any way; that he would be paralyzed for the rest of his life. The most gentle, wonderful soul present in our lives was in front of them, suffering, and all they could do was watch, heartbroken. They wanted to help, but what could they do? My parents knew the worst thing in life was not being able to live it to the fullest. They knew he couldn’t live that way, and that no one should, human or not. My parents then decided to euthanize him; the last thing that they could give to him was eternal ease of his suffering. They stayed with him, cried, and gave their last goodbyes as he let out his last breath.

After that day, I couldn’t face that he was gone and wasn’t coming back. I wanted to know why this had to happen to an animal that was far more loving and understanding than any human. I became a completely different person. I never smiled, and there was always emptiness in my eyes. I wasn’t able to focus, and as a result, my grades dropped dramatically. I had the mentality that girls at school were untrustworthy, that they were murderers, so I started getting into fights. Every car that went down the street I threw rocks at, yelling in anger and grief. I developed a grudge against God because I thought he took Bo away from me out of hate. I even wanted to stop going to school because I thought that if I did, everyone at home would die. I was so frustrated at everything. I hated everyone. That following summer, I accepted that everything happened for a reason; that more tragedies would happen in life and I needed to pull through, instead of sulking over them, angry and full of hate.
I’m 19 years old now, and I still wish things turned out differently than they did 8 years ago. I still ponder about what it would be like if he had lived to be a ripe age and died in dignity instead of vain. I still want to say goodbye to him, and it hurts to realize that I can’t and never will. Sometimes when I go to sleep, I can hear a very faint but familiar bark outside. Hearing it makes me miss him, but at the same time I’m happy, because I know that he’s permanently safe from the cold and heartless harm of Earth. It reminds me you should always live life to the fullest, and spend time with the ones you love like it’s the last time you’ll see them alive; because one day, it really could be the last time.





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