My Best Friend

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
Pets are special. They are our companions. Every pet owner remembers their first pet, no matter how long ago it was. My first pet was a dog named Johnny. He was the best dog ever. Johnny was my best friend.
Johnny was a large German Sheppard. He was the most handsome dog that I had ever seen. His coat was thick and beautiful; it was mainly black and yellow, like straw. Johnny’s body was black, with the straw colored fur scattered throughout it. His head was a chestnut brown peppered with smoky black, and his muzzle was a deep, midnight ebony, the thick fur on his neck matched the rest of his body, but was a little lighter, and his broad chest was completely yellow, almost white. His legs and underbelly were straw colored, and his tail was the same, only tipped black, like a paintbrush. He had a dark brown-black stripe that ran across the middle of his head. When I would pet him, I would always stroke that stripe. The fur there was soft, like velvet. Johnny’s eyes were the epitome of puppy-dog eyes. They were large and the color of chocolate. Some people say that animals don’t have feelings or emotions, but those eyes said something different.

When I was four years old, my parents and I moved from Georgia to New Hampshire. I have very little memories from this time, but I do remember asking my mom that after moved, if we could get a dog. I can’t remember what she said, but after living in New Hampshire for what I think was a couple of months, we took a long drive to an animal shelter; I really don’t remember where it was. That’s where we met Johnny. He was about four or five years old. Again, my memories of this are few, but I remember the caretakers putting Johnny in his kennel, but leaving the door open. The caretakers, my parents, and I went back out into the lobby area. I think that the walls were yellow, and the floor was made of white tile, with green specks. The caretakers had my parents call Johnny to see if he would come for them. He did.

Life with Johnny was great. Talk about the perfect dog: he wouldn’t bark excessively, and he wouldn’t leave the yard. There was a dog that lived in our neighborhood that would always make his way into our yard. Johnny would chase him away, but when he got to the end of the driveway, he would stop chasing. Johnny would stand there, holding his ground, and watch the dog to make sure he left. When people think of German Sheppards, they think of large police dogs that would easily rip you to sheds at a moments notice. That was not Johnny. Johnny loved people. He wouldn’t hurt a fly, bees maybe, but not flies. He was the friendliest dog I knew. He was one giant marshmallow. My mom’s cat, Spunky, scared him. But no matter how wimpy Johnny seemed, we knew, without a doubt, that Johnny would defend us from harm.

Johnny loved the outdoors and summer and fall had to be his favorite time of year. We would go camping up in the White Mountains at Dolly Copp Campground where the Peabody River ran by. There was a long trail through the woods to get there. Once we would get far enough down the trail, away from other people and dogs, we would let Johnny of his leash. He would run ahead a few yards, stop, turn around, wait for us to catch up, then repeat the process all the way to the river. It was heaven for him. You see, Johnny loved rocks, mainly due to the fact that balls just didn’t work for him. He would usually break them, and the balls that were hard enough for him would always get lost. The bank of the river was all rocks. I would throw rocks for him, but normally he would keep them, and not bring them back. He also loved the water. His long fur would spread out on the water, like a mermaid’s hair. When he would get out of the water, anything within a three foot radius would end up soaked.

During the fall, my mom would have a hard time cleaning up the pounds of leaves that littered our yard. A pile would be made, and then a furry missile would come to destroy it. Leaves once again would be everywhere thanks to Johnny. Once the leaves where scattered enough, he would lose interest, and walk away, orange, red, and yellow leaves clinging to his coat. He was like a walking sunset. As it started getting colder, Johnny would stop liking the outdoors. The cold bothered his hips, especially when he got older. My mom ended up having to get little booties for him during the winter to protect his feet from the cold. Imagine a large, tough-looking German Sheppard with cute little red booties on his feet.

Another thing that I remember about Johnny was his collar. It was red, and about an inch and a half thick. His ID tag was a gold, almost bronze bone. The rabies tag was a silver bell. The tinkling of the two tags hitting each other will be forever embedded in my memory. Johnny’s collar hangs by my bedside now, and I’ll shake it every once in a while just to hear it. Johnny also recognized the sound of his collar. When we would bathe him, we would take the collar off, to prevent it from getting wet. My mom would lather Johnny up with the shampoo, which was a golden-rod yellow, and he would just sit there patiently and wait. When it came time to wash him, he loved it. He would try to bite at the stream of water coming from the hose. After his bath, Johnny would run around for a while to dry off. Either my mom or myself would shake his collar, and Johnny would come running, and stick his head through his collar. He was a pretty smart dog.

Another thing about Johnny: you could never be mad at him. It was literally impossible. Our cat that we had at the time, Spunky, would have wet food in the morning. Wet cat food was a delicacy for Johnny, and he would often eat it. When we would scold him, he would just look at us with those big, brown, puppy-dog eyes and give us a big, slobbery kiss. That dog was just too loveable to stay mad at.

I’ll never forget the day we lost him. It was the last day of second grade. It was a beautiful, bright summer day. The warm sun was shining though the leaves onto the ground, making a pretty dapple pattern. The bus had just dropped me off, and I was walking from the bus stop my house that was right next door to it. My mom was waiting for me, like always. She said that we needed to talk. The first thing that went through my head was “great, what did I do now?” I looked at her, asking what was wrong. We sat on the wooden beams that lined our driveway at the time, and she told me that Johnny was gone. He had had a seizure, right after I left on the bus. My parents brought him to the vet. The only way they could treat him was if had had more seizures. He had to develop a pattern so they could figure out the cause. Johnny was old, and he had hip problems. My parents were afraid that he would have a seizure on the stairs, and really hurt himself; they felt that it was his time. Time seemed to stop. I couldn’t believe that my dog was dead. I never thought of the possibility that he would die. My parents had wrapped him up in a sheet. I remember kissing his chilled fur. My mom made me go inside while my dad buried him. I had never seen my dad cry before. Johnny’s buried in our side yard with a gravestone with his name, and written below it is “We love you Johnny.”

Johnny maybe gone, but he will never be forgotten. I wear a gold locket around my neck with his picture inside and the words “Forever in My Heart” on the front. He will always be in my mind. I can hardly talk about him without crying. A lot of people would say that animals don’t go to heaven, maybe most don’t, but I believe that the special ones go. Johnny will be there. I know it.





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback