Remembering

My dog was my best friend. I say 'was' because Aden died last summer. He was an English Mastiff, and twice, maybe three times as big as me. I can remember when we got him. I hadn't picked him up at the airport, that had been my dad and brothers. He was unsteady when he first got out of the car, stumbling around like he had spent hours spinning in a circle trying to catch his tail. He fell down a little when he tried walking, he was never able to go fast enough for his curiosity. He sniffed everything and proceeded to nap in the sun, which would turn out to be one of his favorite summer activities.

Since that first day Aden was perfect, well almost perfect. His draw backs were his tail, his size, and his appetite. He ate like he had never tasted food before, once having two whole pies when no one was in the room. And his tail was dangerous. When he got really excited, which means always, his wagging tail was more dangerous than a baseball bat. He was also oblivious to how large he was. He jumped around, usually on top of people, like he was smaller than a chihuahua. This often resulted with him dragging people around behind him. We avoided using a leash after that.

The evening he died had been relatively warm and I was waiting for dinner, watching TV with Aden next to the wood stove. He had always been a happy dog, always ready to play, But lately he had seemed more calm, spending more and more time laying around, watching TV with us and didn't seem to want to go outside as much. I was sitting on the floor, next to Aden when he just started shaking, like he was having a seizure. After that he just lay still, barely breathing. That was when I went outside. I didn't know what was happening inside, at the time I don't think I wanted to. I paced back and forth in the yard thinking, Aden will be O.K. Aden will be O.K, as if repeating it could make it true. My mom was up in the driveway, trying to get reception to call the vet. When the call finally went through it was too late. I don't remember much after that until we buried him.

Later, I was standing outside while my dad dug a hole in our front yard. It was cold, but I barely even noticed. We buried Aden with his favorite bone and soccer ball, and I visit his grave every day. His collar hangs on a hook on the wall in my parents bedroom. I didn't eat that night and I probably won't be able to tonight, remembering him. I only realize now how important he was. When I'm not occupied I find myself remembering how he would play tether-ball, or help carry brush when we cut firewood. I especially think of the time we spent together and it took awhile, but I finally realize that Aden wasn't really a dog so much as a brother and I will always remember him. Forever.





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