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Birthdays are supposed to be fun, right?

It was my sixth birthday party. I had around 15 people at my Florida house. My Auntie Tisha, Cousin Amy, neighbor Maddie, and her father Mike, were some of the people there. It was going to be a slumber party and the best one ever! Have you ever had a celebration or a party and then have something heart shattering happen? Worst feeling ever…

All of the guests were gathered in my families blue speckle floored garage. The adults were scattered throughout the shaded portion of the garage with a red plastic cup in their hand, half-drunk with beer. Meanwhile, the friends my age who attended were in a single file line. All of us were ready to take what we thought was a powerful swing at the star shaped piñata hanging from the ceiling. It had so many colors; it looked like a box of newly opened crayons! Since we were 6-7 years old, every one of us wanted to try and crack open that dangling star. The line slowly curled around so that even the people in the back could see the person waving the skinny stick wildly in the air. The truth is, I wanted the candy all to myself. At other parties, I would let everyone get in front of me and take all the candy before I could even get a single piece. This time was going to be different. Unfortunately, none of the kids were strong enough to crack through the hard shell of the star so my mother cut it open and shook it just enough so that the candy would fall to the ground like raindrops. Before the flash of the parents eyes, the eager kids darted forward towards the fallen star, while the parents gazed at us. It was as if they were looking at a flock of chickens picking at the food that lay on the ground.

When we children had gained our candy and exchanged the not so tasty ones with other people, we dragged our parents inside for ice cream, cake, and presents. It felt like I was at a concert, only I was the one preforming. I was the center of attention. Singing cards and boxes containing presents of all sizes, rushed my way. I vigorously tore through the wrapping paper and showed the entire crew my gifts. I was happier than ever. When all of the presents were unwrapped and the flash of the cameras were finished, it was around 9 o’ clock and my parents had stepped outside to smoke a cigarette and let my boxer, Tango, go to the bathroom. They must have released him in the front yard or this terrible incident would have never happened.

My Aunt came into the living room with her face as red as an apple and tears rolling down her cheeks. I asked her “What’s wrong Auntie?” She wouldn’t tell me a single detail of what was causing her to cry a river. She did do one thing though. She placed me on her lap, gave me a tight squeeze, and kept assuring me that everything was going to be okay. Ten measly minutes had passed and in the room was only my Aunt, Maddie, my brother and myself. Everyone else had left…. For some peculiar reason, I was not allowed to go outside for the rest of the night. The reason was that Tango had been painfully crushed by a truck. His blood, bones and body were splattered across the portion of street in front of my driveway. That was not a pretty sight for a 6 year old.

My cousin and my Aunt had stayed with my brother and me for the night. My uncle and my parents had cleaned up what they could of Tango and took his remains to the crematorium. When they arrived back home, they laid down some type of chemical on the road so it would soak up the blood and remove the stain.

I could no longer see what people call a ‘man’s best friend’ or in this case, a girl’s best friend. My fawn colored, black faced cutie pie was gone… I can remember him turning the back yard into a race track. He would run around the yard in a semicircular shape and the grass had been so run down, that there was only dirt left! He had killed the grass! Tango was only 3 years old when he died. I still look on my living room shelf and see a decorated tin box with a picture of him taped on the side, sprawled out on the floor, with his blue and worn collar surrounding the box keeping his delicate ashes safe.

To this day, nobody knows how Tango truly died. It was so dark, that nobody could figure out the real story. What happened is that an armadillo came out from the silver drainage tube under our lawn and took off after it. Dogs aren’t like people. They don’t look both directions and then cross, they just go. He was running as if there were flames chasing him and when he entered the street, he managed to get hit by a truck. We think, is that the driver that hit him had been under the influence of alcohol and he could not see our dog running across the street.

Even though I was a little girl, I remember the pain my family and I suffered from losing our puppy. He was another member of the family. I don’t want a cruel thing like that to happen again. To prevent this from happening, I will let my dog go potty in the back yard where it is enclosed by a fence. If I do take him near the street, he will be on a leash, and it will be made sure that he does not see any other animal to take off after.



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