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The Best Things Don't Last
Guilt crawled through my body. Still, I couldn’t fight off the anger towards my grandma. I knew that of course it wasn’t her fault, and I told myself this over and over. He had attacked her, not the other way around. So why did I still feel sticky resentment whenever I saw her?
I will never forget the fall of fourth grade. I had just turned nine years old. We were looking after Neve, a fluffy white Samoyed who belonged to a family friend. After dog sitting him for a week, I had fallen in love. He was sweet and mellow, and he loved to be around people. He loved food more than anything, and gobbled up his food in seconds, then would look up at me with his big glossy eyes, begging for more. His fur was irresistibly soft, and a crisp white color. He looked like a giant, cuddly snowball. But Neve was more than just a cute pet. I felt close to him, like I would to a best friend. Before, I had wanted a dog so badly. But having Neve around made one thing clear to me; I wanted this dog.
So the day that my parents surprised my brothers and me with the news that we were keeping Neve was in some ways the happiest day of my life. I never thought this day would come, with my mother who had always said she didn’t want a dog. But Neve was already five, so my parents wouldn’t have to deal with training a puppy. It was a dream come true.
My life was more enjoyable with Neve. For the next many months, when I would come home from school after a bad day, he would be there to comfort me. And when I got off the school bus he was always in the same spot in my yard, sitting there, waiting for me. With Neve, I learned what unconditional love was. I looked forward to each day; waking up early on the weekends just to walk him. But just one year after that happy time, came a day full of sadness.
It was December 2006, two days after Christmas, and my family and I were in Boston visiting family. It was the one time of year that my two cousins, Katie and Caroline, and I got to see each other. We were talking; catching up on the past year of each other’s lives. I had the rest of vacation to look forward to, and I was with two of my favorite people in the world. But most of all, I had my big, fluffy, white, adorable dog here in Boston with me. Little did I know, the happiest part of my life as I knew it would soon come crashing down.
The twinkling lights of the Christmas tree brought the room to life. The smell of the sweet pine needles filled the air with a festive aroma. I lay down on the couch and sighed. The sounds of laughter, clinking glasses, and chatter were all around me. The Christmas atmosphere was delightful, but nonetheless, tiring. I closed my eyes and was just drifting off to sleep to the smell of warm apple pie that was wafting through the room when there was a sharp knock on the door. “Come in,” I said. The door opened slowly, and my younger brother, Charlie, shuffled into the room warily. His eyes were wide, and he was shaking. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Something really scary just happened,” he said with a confused and horrified look on his face.
“What happened?” I asked, wondering what could possibly be wrong. He took a shaky breath.
“Neve just bit grandma. She was trying to take a piece of paper towel out of Neve’s mouth, and he bit down on it. It broke skin. It was a bad bite. She’s okay but her arm is bleeding pretty badly.” My brother started to cry, which scared me immensely since even for a 7 year old, he almost never shed even a single tear. I was surprised and angry that Neve would bite my grandmother, and rushed down stairs to check things out. After making sure that my grandma was okay, I spoke to my mom about the traumatic event. And I was dismayed at the words that passed through her lips.
“Honey, there is no way that we can keep a dog like Neve living with us.”
“What do you mean?” I cried, horrified at the thought of life without Neve.
“We’ll have to figure something out when we get home, but keeping him wouldn’t be safe. What if he had bitten your face?” I sobbed, and was shocked and unhappy the rest of vacation.
When we got home, my parents made plans to drop Neve off at the breeder, where Neve was born. The breeder told us that he would live with a couple that lived on a farm and knew how to deal with a dog that bites. Just three short weeks later we would be dropping him off. The weeks went by far too quickly, although I squeezed every hour out of everyday that I had to be spent with him. Before I knew it, we were at the breeder’s house, and my time was up.
My parents and brothers drifted slowly into the car after saying their last goodbyes, but I held onto Neve. I buried my face in his warm fur and sobbed, making him damp and sticky. But he didn’t care; he just nuzzled his head deeper into my open arms. He could tell something was wrong, and he was most likely confused, wondering why I clung onto him with such desperation. He had no idea this would be the last time to be in my arms, or even see me, and I felt I was betraying him. Finally it was time to go, and as I drove off in the silent car I watched him stare at me. His big glossy eyes were begging for answers, and my blurry vision stayed glued to him until he became a mere spec in the distance, and gone from my life.