A True Best Friend

November 8, 2007
By Elissa Poskanzer, Albany, NY

I am writing this memoir about my dog that has taught me many different things. One is very important: you can have a best friend, that isn’t human. I was always the baby in the family, but not anymore. I can’t stress that enough. It is possible to have a best friend that isn’t human, that can’t talk with you, but somehow, you can communicate with them. He is one of those friends. I was so used to being put first, or having my brother be put first. When my dog came along, we were first sometimes, but a lot of the attention went to him. He was the new baby in the family. The new one to take care of, make sure he was safe, fed, and comfortable. I liked the feeling of this responsibility. It made me feel like I was an older, more mature kid.

When I was 5, I played soccer. I was coming home from a game and my parents said we were stopping at a friend’s house. I was fine with it, a little disappointed because I wanted to go home and get some rest, but it turned out to be one of the best days of my life. I can remember the house, the kitchen almost exactly. To the right of where you walked in, there were cabinets, lined up against the wall, with wallpaper behind it. Underneath them was a yellowish warn out countertop. There was a shiny silver sink, and dark brown wood cabinets beneath it. Straight across from the door we walked in from, was another doorway which led to the dining room. There was no wall to the left, it was an open entrance to the family room where there was two children watching television. Next to our feet was a white bin with a cage cover on it. There was a puppy inside with an orange tag on and I thought he was the cutest thing. I remember this kitchen exactly, because It was the place where my whole entire life changed. It was the very first place I ever saw my new best friend forever, my dog.

As we were greeted by people and puppies, I was happy we had with stopped at the so called ‘friends’ house. I fell in love with the dogs right away. I thought they were all very cute, but this one particular dog was the cutest by far. The only male there, besides the father of course, but I still think the cutest. I wanted to keep a puppy so badly. Turns out I got to keep him. I thought my parents were joking. My jaw dropped, I thought my parents were joking when they said I could keep the dog. I think I jumped up and down and just held on to my puppy. I wanted a girl dog, but I was just so happy we even got a dog I didn’t care. The second we got home, I was outside my dog.

I also remember taking him around to everyone’s house in the neighborhood. A smile on my face the whole time and everyone else’s smiles. The feeling I had, I wish I could remember how I felt exactly, it is hard to explain.

I remember the way home, the old car, and the dog sitting on my brother’s lap, waiting nervously. We were trying to figure out a name for the dog. My brother was insisting on Mac, but I didn’t like that name at all. I wish I agreed on Bowser, the name my mom and brother wanted, but being a five year old girl that wasn’t working for me. I wanted Sam. Sam it was. Everyone agreed on that name. Now being older I wish we did name him Bowser; it would have been really cute since he’s so small. But Sam works for me. In the future I’ll think about the name Bowser though. I have a lot of nicknames for my dog. I call him many different things. Baby, Boo, Bub, Bubsy, and that’s not even half. I have many other random and sometimes strange names for my dog. Because of his little mustache, some of my friends call him mustachio.

Every year that he would get a year older, I would count only one year, instead of seven, in dog years. I never wanted him to be older than me. But by his second birthday, he was older than me, but in dog years. If I counted how old he was in dog years, I would count how old I was in dog years. Now he is forty-nine in dog years which converts to seven human years. If I said that he was seven, I would be twelve. If I said he was forty-nine, I would be eighty-four. I couldn’t let him be older than me. Every birthday, he would get a hamburger, or some other kind of meat. I remember every July 25th, his birthday. The day would be about him.

He is a Miniature Schnauzer. He is a grey, small little guy. He weighs less than 15 lbs; that’s how small he is. He is the cutest dog ever. I adore him. He has a little black wet nose and dark dark dark brown eyes that are almost black. His little beard just makes him all that much cuter. His little eyebrows stick out a little, and his ears. They stick up naturally. When he bends them down, he looks so innocent, and sweet. When he’s in a playful mood, he can be rough, but is also careful at the same time. His tail sticks up straight, and wags non-stop. He’s always happy. He’s always playful. He’s always the one I go to for help, believe it or not.

As I grew up with him, I learned the meaning of responsibility. I learned to take care of him, by feeding him, keeping him exercised and a ton of things all to make sure he was healthy. I couldn’t imagine him dying. I can’t imagine life without him. What it would have been like growing up without a dog; would I be afraid of them, would I be so caring and want one even more, or would I just not care at all about them. I’m glad I had him when I was growing up. I’m glad I have such love for animals. But this dog means so much to me. I seriously do not know how I would live my life without him, what kind of person I would be without him there for me, when I need it the most.

Not only do I protect him, he protects me. When I was little and afraid of the dark, he stayed there with me all night and comforted me. When I would cry because of something he would come over to me and just sit there, against my leg. Believe it or not, he’s one I look up too. Even though no one sees it, he’s my hero. He acts so confident and so passionate. And even though he’s a dog, I tell everything to him, and he’s the best listener ever.

Throughout all the hard work raising my dog, it has all paid off. I’ve learned from him to be responsible, and a better person. If I didn’t grow up with him I don’t know if I would be as generous, or as responsible. He taught me so much. I’m glad I’ve been with him for all those years, and many more years to come. I cannot say it enough times, having a dog that you can tell anything to, that will listen to everything, and comfort you whenever you need it, is the best thing anybody could ask for.

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