Saying Good-Bye to Brandy This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Whenever I walk into my parents’ bedroom, I still expect to see her lying on my parents’ bed, sleeping. Almost every day of my life I’d seen her on that bed and it’s hard to accept that I’m never going to see her there again. I feel as if I’ve lost a close relative. Actually, I suppose I did. Even if she was just a dog, Brandy had been around since before I was born and I loved her like she was family. After all, she was. We brought her on vacations and when she was younger, she would jump on one of the kitchen chairs while we ate dinner, expecting to eat what we did. We wondered if she was aware she was a dog, because she hated all other dogs.

I still remember when I walked into the kennel area of Wantagh Animal Hospital after our three-day vacation with my family. As soon as we entered the room, dogs jumped around and barked like crazy in their cages, all wanting attention. Usually, I would have been happy to give them the attention, but that day I was nervous and sick. Things got worse when I saw Brandy, lying in her cage without moving. She tried to get up to walk over to us, but couldn’t. There was a white cloth wrapped around her neck to keep in the intravenous, and next to her was a dish of untouched food. They said she hadn’t eaten for three days. She would only drink water, and even for that she needed help. I’ve never felt so bad in my life.

For years I’d been expecting that she wouldn’t live much longer. Her sight wasn’t very good and she was practically deaf, but she still wasn’t in bad shape for a dog of seventeen. I knew that it was going to happen soon. Unfortunately, you can never really prepare for it. I kept remembering the things Brandy used to do: run around the lawn so fast she’d kick up grass, play catch with a tennis ball, and run up and down the steps, wagging her tail, when we used to ask her if she wanted to go in the car. She put up with me trying to sit on her when I was two, and chased a Doberman Pinscher twice her size down the block when it tried to chase me. Even some of the bad things that she did were pretty cute, like when we would sneak her into motels (where dogs weren’t allowed), go out to eat, and come back to find Brandy sticking her head out from between the curtains for everyone to see.

I didn’t want it to end like this for her. Only four months ago, the veterinarian had told us that Brandy had at least four more years. I’d wondered what he thought of his estimation now.

Over the next few days, we found, little by little, the severity of her condition. By the third day, they’d told us that if she wasn’t better by the next day, we should probably put her to sleep. I prayed that she would be okay … but she was worse. The kennel said they could try other things, but they didn’t think it would work. My parents decided it was best to put her down. I didn’t agree, but I really didn’t have a say. I suppose that it was better I didn’t, because I would have tried anything to keep that poor animal alive and she probably wasn’t happy anymore.

My mother and I went to see Brandy one last time. It was as if Brandy knew that it was the end. As I was saying good-bye and attempting to stop crying, she licked my arm and put her head on my hand. That only made us feel even worse. I started begging my mother to give Brandy another day, but her condition had gotten worse and she wasn’t even able to stand. We knew it was no way for a dog to live.

I regret not being with her for the last moments of her life. I feel bad that I let her die with strangers. I wanted to be with her up until the end, but my mother was on the verge of passing out, so, with a sigh, I stood up and stared at Brandy as I closed the cage door, knowing that it was the last time that I’d ever see my beloved dog. I’ll never forget August 1, 1996 – the day I said good-bye to one of my best friends.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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