March 16, 2008
By Marlana Ernst, Highlands Ranch, CO

Matt and Mike have been my brother’s best friends for years. They’re at my house so much that, if you didn’t know better, you’d think they lived with us. They always annoy me. They run around my house screaming and sneaking into my room just to bug me. They got my brother into Pokemon and other trading card games which, regrettably, came with movies and shows my brother would watch.

Matt and Mike also had two adorable dogs. The first was a fat, little beagle slash chocolate lab mix named Hope. Her legs always looked way to short for her chubby, little body. I was always surprised that those legs could hold her up. The second was Missy, a sweet mutt that they’d had for fifteen years, since their parents had gotten married.

Whenever I was forced to go over to the annoying boys’ house, I would sit and pet the two dogs, having nothing better to do. They were both so sweet and, until I got a dog of my own, they were the closest things I had to puppies.

A couple years ago, Missy started having problems. She went deaf and stated to become blind. Then, she began having trouble standing up and would spend most of her time lying on the floor. This was all because of her age. She was almost fifteen.

A couple weeks ago, Missy had what seemed like a stroke. Matt and Mike’s parents took her to the pet emergency room. The next morning, they took her to their usual doctor to decide if they should put her down. She returned home, a little weak, but fine.

Today, I went back to school, after being sick with a cold for four days, thankful that I had less make up work than I had expected. My mom bought us a Starbucks on the way home, which was a rare occasion. I came home feeling happy and relaxed.

Since it was a Friday, I expect to go home, watch TV, and maybe play Sims on my computer. I took my backpack upstairs to my room, happy that it was the weekend. I walked back downstairs and heard my mom talking on the phone.

“Is it okay if I bring Nikki over to say goodbye to Missy?” my mom said.

Nikki, my nine-year-old sister, was standing in the hallway, bawling. I gave her a hug and reassured her that Missy was going to a better place. My mom got off the phone and we put on our jackets to walk out into the snowy night. My brother tagged along and we walked three houses down the street.

We walked into the boys’ kitchen. Missy was lying on a pillow with her head in Mike’s hands. The almost ten-year-old boy’s face was red and blotchy. I gave him a hug and he put his head on my shoulder. When I released him, I stroked Missy’s soft, floppy ears. I traced my fingers along the paw print shaped marking on her nose. It had always been my favorite feature of her. The boy’s dad came up and kneeled beside the dog.

“Did you know that I gave her to my wife as a wedding present?” he asked me.

“Yes,” I said. It was a sweet story I’d heard a few times before.
“Back then, we were living in a town house,” he continued. “I would walk her for about a mile every morning and every night. And every time, she’d pick up a stick and carry it in her mouth the whole way.”
He told a couple more good memories that he shared with Missy and we left. Matt came over to our house while Mike went with his parents to the vet. I couldn’t believe how much courage Mike. It was amazing that he went with his parents to put Missy down.
I imagine that right about now, Missy is entering the pearly gates. I realize that death isn’t a sad thing for the person who dies. Sure, the people who love them are sad, but Missy is now running and playing in fields of daisies with Jesus. She can now see perfectly and hear better than ever. Her body is perfect and she is happy.

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