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My Best Friend, My Puppy
Christmas of 3rd grade, that’s when I got him I’ll never forget him running around the corner of my friends house as I sat patiently, waiting for my gift. His name was Soldier, he was small and white with a small brown patch on his back and scruff around his face. I’d known him his whole life, and I was there the day he was born. He was always my favorite to play with, and this is a story of the times I shared with him.
Skip forward to his first time at our house, he roamed around and followed my other dog Wrigly around for a while exploring and drinking in his new home. He slept in my bed later that night and woke me up to take him out the next morning at 6:00 AM. Even though I was only a third grader I had accepted that I now had a major responsibility and that this is how it would be. The next weekend was filled with long walks and many games of fetch with my new best friend.
As the weekend came to a close, I accepted that I would have to go to school and leave my new buddy at home. Throughout the day, I counted down the time till I could be with my little Soldier again. He greeted me at the door, licking at my hand and gazing up at me in wonderment.
“Go get your guy!” I exclaimed.
As he scampered off to find his toys, I thought to myself. “This is my puppy and I love him.” When he returned, he dropped the toy into my hand and I lobbed it across the room. He bounded into the kitchen to catch it flawlessly; he turned and looked at me with his big brown eyes, as if to ask “I did good?”
“Great job buddy! Now bring it back.” He jogged back to me and dropped the toy at my feet ready for another round.
As he grew up, he got better and better with people and became my companion, my buddy, my puppy. There was always one problem though, he wasn’t very good with other dogs, barking and always trying to pick fights.
When winter came he was happier than ever, and so were we, he seemed to be getting better with other dogs. While Soldier was getting better, Wrigly was getting worse. Over her long life she had been through a lot and she was coming on 12 years old, she started to get sick very often and was not quite herself around the house. We had talked as a family and we knew what we had to do, on January 5th 2004 we put Wrigley down and out of her misery.
It was as if Soldier knew that his buddy wasn’t coming back. For weeks he didn’t leave the basement, all he did was lay on her bed as if he was guarding it until she returned. But she wasn’t coming back. Eventually we moved her bed upstairs just to get him out of the basement, he spent days just sitting in the family room, never moving, not even a twitch, and he just sat. It was a sad time in the house missing one dog and seeing our little puppy like this, no one seemed to smile.
After about two weeks, I was sitting in the family room watching TV and Soldier was sitting across the room on Wrigley’s bed. He looked at me and slowly stood up and walked over to lick my hand, he then jumped up on the couch and cuddled up next to me as if to tell me “I miss her, but it’ll be ok.”
As time went by, wounds healed and the pain of loosing Wrigley died down a little. Unfortunately Soldier started to get bad with other dogs again, back to barking at everyone that we walked by or passed through the alley. We took him to obedience classes but they made no difference, and he just stayed the way he was. We were never too worried cause he just barked and never took it any farther.
Then one day that changed. I will never forget it. We were playing in the back yard while my mom was working on her garden. There was a dog walking down the alley with it’s owner and Soldier ran over to the gate to bark at the strange dog. As the new dog approached the fence my mom stood up to talk to the owner a little bit. Then it happened in the blink of an eye. There was a growl from both dogs then everything slowed down and Soldier’s jaws snapped down on the other dogs nose. My mom jumped over and ripped Soldier off the dog and told me to take him into the house. For a while everything was quite as I sat waiting in the family room with my puppy.
Days later we sat down as a family to talk about what had transpired. We talked for what seemed like hours, but deep down everyone knew what was going to happen. There was only one thing that we could do. Even though we loved him and how he treated us we had to do what was right and put him down.
Wednesday May 4th, 2005 I came home from school and I knew what awaited me. My last day with my puppy, we played for two hours, tears were shed and he seemed to know that this was the last time I’d see him. At the end of our time, I pulled him close, hugged him and told him, “I love you buddy, and I will never forget you.” My mom then took him to the animal hospital and returned around 9pm.
Two days later she sat me down in my room and handed me a small vase. She told me, “That’s your puppy and now he can always be with you.” Later that day we took a third of his ashes and scattered them in the back yard. I broke down in tears and my mom just stood there and hugged me, she knew my pain and she knew that it had been cut to short to fast.
To this day I never forget my puppy and I still have him in my room. He is always with me when I need him and that will never change. I loved him and I always will, because he was my companion, my best friend, and my puppy.