Sad Day for a Little Boy

When I was eight years old, I had a dalmatian named Pepper. She was a fun and energetic dog who was always happy. I loved Pepper very much and always wanted her to be with me. I have many happy memories of my time with Pepper. I remember one time when I could not finish my burger, so I gave it to Pepper, and she grabbed it so fast it seemed like a frog grabbing a fly with its tongue. I would always talk to Pepper to tell her whatever I felt. Sometimes I would tell her how my day was at school. “Oh Pepper, you wouldn’t believe this guy today at school who was making fun of my light-up shoes,” I said as I walked in the front door and dropped by backpack on the floor. Sitting at my feet, Pepper looked up at me with her pink tongue hanging out, her mouth almost in a smile. Even though she didn’t understand, I felt like someone was listening to me. “You’re always such a good listener. Let’s go play!” I said as I threw a red rubber ball into the living room. Pepper bounded after it, her nails clacking against the tile floor.

Another memory I have of Pepper was the time I took her for a walk on a cool spring evening. Pepper began to bark, and I thought maybe she had heard something. Suddenly, mockingbird swooped down and pecked her on the head, probably because it thought she was trying to mess with its nest.

One day, I noticed Pepper lying on the floor, and she was not her usual playful self. She was panting, and when my mom asked her if she wanted to go outside, she didn’t move. I wondered if she was sick, and I became worried. I asked my mom what was wrong, and she just said that Pepper was getting old. I was still a little worried, but I thought that maybe my mom was right and that it was normal for an older dog to have less energy.

Even though my mom had reassured me, that next day we took Pepper to the vet for a check up. When I walked in the vet’s office I could smell cats and dogs. The vet led us back into the examination room. He was a short man with a mustache, and he was wearing a white jacket. “This sore on Pepper’s leg is a health risk. It may be a tumor,” he said after inspecting her closely. Even though I didn’t know what a tumor was at the time, I could tell it was serious from my mom’s reaction. I was scared, and I hugged Pepper a little longer than usual that night when I went to bed.

After that visit I began to notice Pepper was more sluggish than usual. She slept all the time and only got up to eat food or drink water. I tried to play with her, but she wouldn’t move. When I threw her favorite red rubber ball, she just looked at it as it bounced past her, and I remember thinking that she looked sad that she couldn’t chase after it. What has happened to my dog? I thought as I sat down beside her and petted her head.

Then one day, on the way home from school, I was sitting in the back seat of my mom’s car, looking out the window at the stores and people shopping. My mom interrupted my daydreaming and told me she wanted to tell me something. She had this weird look, like someone scared her. “What’s wrong?” I said. In a quiet voice, she said, “We had to put Pepper down because she had a lot of illnesses.” I got all teary eyed and stuttered, “So Pepper is never coming back?” Then my mom started to cry and said,“No.” I was so sad, and I wondered how life could go on without Pepper. But then I remembered her lying on the ground and her sad eyes as the ball bounced past. Even though I miss Pepper, I learned it is better to let someone go than to let them suffer.





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