Good Night and Good-Bye This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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"There you go, girl," my mom said as she let my dog loose to run around. Daisy was an outside dog, but she was usually tied up. In the summer when we were out at night, we usually let her loose to run around the yard.

We live in a secluded area with few houses, a dirt road and fields that stretch for miles. It was a beautiful July evening with a "red at night, sailor's delight" sun setting over the dusky atmosphere.

My younger brother Jamie was jumping off the picnic table onto his wrestling buddy in hopes of being the next Stone Cold. My mom was lighting a citronella candle. Summer smells wafted through the air overtaking the exhaust of a passing car. I was watching Daisy run around. I could tell she was excited to be free.

"What a goofy dog," I muttered. I hopped off the wraparound porch and landed in the ankle-high grass. Reminding my mom that it needed to be cut, I ran off to play with the dog. Now Daisy was an all-time great dog, a mutt, but a real winner. She never bit or barked unless there was danger. She had a whitish coat with a few black blotches here and there lightened with age, giant brown eyes that engulfed you with one look and a wet nose. Her coat was a bit scraggly, since she loved to roll in the dirt and grass. When I jumped in front of her, she shied back until she noticed the friendly face and she was soon lapping me with her sandpaper-like tongue. I pushed her off and began to wrestle her.

Meanwhile the troublesome cat, Tigger, was lurking inside. He walked with slyness and style as he purred his way onto the windowsill, leaning against the screen with his orange fur sneaking through the tiny holes. Daisy spotted him. Not that she had any intention of hurting him, she usually just wanted to play, but the dog didn't do her usual bark and runs. She noticed the cat and paid no attention. That was strange, I thought. That's nothing like Daisy.

"I tell you, we could never count on her for protection," my mom said sarcastically.

I went inside our hot brick house. My mom started to read a book and my little brother was so attached to his wrestling buddy that he blocked out the rest of the world. My dog wandered off once she lost our attention, down the road, walking slower than usual.

Later I came back out to talk to my mom. The evening was quiet once more. The sun was setting and the night chill was starting.

"Daisy," I yelled. Where is she? I thought.

"That dumb dog must have run off again," my mom said. "Go down the road and see if you can see her, Bob, and don't forget a couple of treats."

I came back empty-handed – no dog, no treats.

"Where are the treats?" my mom asked.

"Oh, they got mushy, so I tossed them," I said.

"Daisy, Daisy," all three of us called at the top of our lungs.

"Bob, let's get in the car and look for her," my mom said. "Stay here, Jamie, in case she comes back." My mom and I started out. We knew she couldn't have gone far.

"Daisy, Daisy," we could hear Jamie calling faintly. I began to yell even louder out the window.

The neighbors have a dog, I thought. So I jumped out of the car and ran to their yard. I heard a whimper but saw no Daisy. My brother came running down the hill to the neighbor's and we searched around the pool, weeds and barn. We didn't see her. Then my brother yelled, "I found her. I got her." I slipped on mud and ran to the dog. I was about to yell at her, but couldn't. She was whimpering and stumbling. Her paws were brown from the mud and I could tell she was sick. I remembered a few weeks earlier when my mom said that Daisy wasn't eating her food. She said she tried every kind imaginable: hard, soft, wet, dry and chunky. So we led her up to the car 15 yards away. That short distance took Daisy ten minutes. I scooped her up into the car and drove her to the house. As I lifted her out, I held her gently, so as to not break any of her fragile ribs. My mom said, "You know what this means, don't you, boys?"

We both replied in our most solemn voices ever, "Yes." My brother got teary-eyed and all I could think of were the good times, the sweet memories. Like the first time we got her home and set her up; she was just a pup and I was about six. I spent that night with her in the basement on the cold floor with my baby blanket to help us stay warm.

I felt so sad that one of the best things in my life was dying right in front of my eyes. I hugged her as gently as I could.

She had one night to live. That evening I sat outside with her. I muttered to myself and her and soon fell asleep beside her. I woke up 40 minutes later, looked at her for a few minutes and softly patted her goodnight and good-bye. That was the last time I saw Daisy.

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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