I got my first pet at four years old. A year and a half-year-old black lab mix that I named Sara (yes, I understand that that is a human name… don't come for me, I was four). Sara was the dream dog: mellow, sweet, and athletic. She loved tennis balls more than anything and would play fetch for hours on end. She had a hole that she dug in our backyard that she would sit in if it got too hot outside, but we had to give her a bath every time she got out of that hole since there would be flecks of dirt EVERYWHERE if we didn't.
She hated water, other than drinking it. Anytime she would see something that would spray water out of it, especially the hose, she would run into the garage and never come back out. Because of this, she hated baths. I wished she could understand English, so I could tell her that we just wanted to make her clean and that we weren't trying to hurt her. Nevertheless, she looked miserable.
Sara was the ultimate lapdog, even though she was way too big. When she was younger we would try to push her off of us every time she tried to cuddle on our laps. How we solved this problem? We got down to her level, so we could cuddle with her on the ground.
Sara was ours for 14 amazing years. As I entered high school, she became lazier. She would sleep a lot, but she was still the sweet dog that I had met at four years old. As we entered 2018, I think my whole family had a feeling that this year would be her last. It was hard for us to wrap our heads around it, as I barely remembered a life without her, and my younger sister had never had a life without her (she was born two years after we had adopted Sara). But we never knew that we would lose her so quick.
My parents made the decision to put our Sara down the day they discovered she had cancer. We didn't want her to suffer. She died on Groundhog Day at 15 years old.
When Sara passed, I was in the final semester of my senior year of high school. When we adopted her, I was in my first year of preschool. That adorable fuzzy face was there for me every day that I got home from school and every lazy summer day that I would wish that I didn't have to go back.
As I approach the first anniversary of her death, I realize now that when Sara was gone, so was my childhood. It was time to grow up, and go through life without her. But, like a piece of my childhood, she will be always with me.
Love you, Miss Sara. Thank you for everything.