I don't know about your family, but in my house, our dog was part of the family. Because I am an only child, my dog was treated like my brother. I remember two very important days very well -- the day my dog became part of the family and the day he left us forever.
Flashback to first grade; my dad picked me up early from camp one day. I remember walking to the car and seeing my mom sitting in the passenger seat with a little puppy on her lap. I was told he was an early birthday present. My parents went into the pet store just to look and my mom fell in love with one of the dog's big paws and the white V-shape on the top of his head. She couldn't put him down. Who knew that that one moment would change our lives?
The puppy quickly fit right into the family. We loved him and he loved us. This little puppy was so smart. He quickly learned the dos and don’ts of the house and he would always follow them. He knew not to eat or chew on things that were not his. We were able to take him outside without a leash on and he knew not to leave the property unless he was told otherwise. He also knew he was supposed to protect us. Anytime someone he did not know would walk into the house, he would bark until we told him it was alright. He was able to do every trick we ever taught him except one -- speak on command. When we tried to make him speak he would just sit there and stare at us.
When one of us was sick, scared or upset, he would always be right there trying to make everything better. I always knew that at any time of the day or the night, he would always be right there protecting me. In tenth grade I spent a week in the hospital after having emergency surgery. My parents said he slept on my bed when I was gone. It felt like he knew something was wrong and missed me. I remember coming home and he would not leave my side for anything. He knew something was wrong and he wanted to make it better. He always knew how to put a smile on anyone’s face.
Fast forward to 11th grade, the day my puppy would leave us forever. I woke up one school morning to my mom telling me that my dog was sick. He did not want to do anything. He wouldn’t even eat. This was a huge problem to us because if you knew my dog, his favorite thing to do was eat. He would finish his dog food within a minute of it being given to him. So when he would not eat anything we gave him (including human food) we knew there was a problem. When my dad came home from work we took him to the vet. I still remember the tears streaming down my face when the veterinarian told us that my puppy had a huge mass in his stomach and needed surgery.
As we were discussing the options, my dog kept walking towards the door and stumbling. The veterinarian quickly picked him up and ran him out of the room. Within a minute, she came back in and told us he was having a massive heart attack and needed to put to sleep. I still remember standing there, watching him being taken away from us. I remember that the only thing I could do was stand there and cry. I hated feeling like there was nothing I could do to make him feel better, especially when he spent most of his life trying to make sure I was okay.
My puppy will forever be in my heart. I still think about him all of the time. I kept his dog tags and have them attached to my keys, this way he will always be with me. He was a huge part of my life and I would not want it any other way.