Oreo, The Best Pup

Oreo, The Best Pup

"Dogs are not our whole world but they make our lives whole"

A few years ago I got a call that broke my heart. I remember to this day exactly where I was. I was sitting in a booth next to a window right by the door at a restaurant called Toast in Charleston, SC. My best friend called me to tell me that her families pride a joy, Oreo had passed away. Oreo was their Boston Terrier and the most unique, lovable pup ever.

I'll tell you a little bit about her. She was wild and energetic. She sounded like a pig, and she made the cutest most bizarre noises. She was funny and a character to say the least. Oreo was quirky and weird, and I never related to any dog more. Oreo and I shared a bond, at least I'd like to think that. She had a thing she did with her toys. She would carry it over to me in her mouth and press it up against my lips. We liked to call them bone kisses.

I had lost a dog before, but it was different this time (even though she wasn't my own). One was a shockingly tragic event, and the other was a long time coming, making it easier to accept. Oreo's passing was different. She was still young, and I had just visited her a few weeks prior. She seemed full of life and happier than ever. Her passing was heartbreaking and crushing. Those weird noises she used to make that would make us laugh was actually cancer. I first remember being at a loss for words, unable to comprehend the news. The doctor said she was very sick, but Oreo NEVER let anyone see it. With how bad the cancer was, Oreo was a frickin' warrior. She was, honest to God, an inspiration; she never let anyone know she was in pain. I know she was a dog, but dogs are family. We value a dog's opinion and trust their instincts. The fact that no one knew how much pain she was in is amazing; she was always so happy.

Once the information sunk in, I began shedding tears in that booth. I was utterly stunned and distraught over the news. Oreo wasn't even my dog, and yet, I was still mourning her. To this day, my friend and I talk about the times we had with Oreo, the funny things she would do and the ways she'd make us laugh. Although she was wild, she was the biggest cuddler of them all. She loved being loved, and she must have been aware when she made people laugh because I'm pretty sure she loved showing off to crack a smile even more. Oreo had one of the greatest personalities of any dog, ever. And, that is why she will never be forgotten.

If these pictures don't make you crack a smile followed with a chuckle, I don't think we can be friends.

Cover Image Credit: Sydney Friedman

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A Letter To The Grandpas Who Left Far Too Soon

The thoughts of a girl who lost both of her grandpas too early.

Dear Grandpa,

As I get older, my memories are starting to fade. I try to cling to every last bit of memory that I have of you. There are certain memories that have stuck well in my brain, and I probably will never forget them, at least I hope I don't. I remember your smile and your laugh. I can still remember how your voice sounded. I never want to forget that. I catch myself closing my eyes to try to remember it, playing your voice over and over in my head so that I can ingrain it in my memory.

I always thought you were invincible, incapable of leaving me. You were so young, and it caught us all by surprise. You were supposed to grow old, die of old age. You were not supposed to be taken away so soon. You were supposed to see me graduate high school and college, get married to the love my life, be there when my kids are born, and never ever leave.

My heart was broken when I heard the news. I don't think I had experienced a pain to that level in my entire life. At first, I was in denial, numb to the thought that you were gone. It wasn't until Thanksgiving, then Christmas, that I realized you weren't coming back. Holidays are not the same anymore. In fact, I almost dread them. They don't have that happy cheer in the air like they did when you were alive. There is a sadness that hangs in the air because we are all thinking silently how we wished you were there. I hope when I am older and have kids that some of that holiday spirit comes back.

You know what broke my heart the most though? It was seeing your child, my parent, cry uncontrollably. I watched them lose their dad, and I saw the pain that it caused. It scared me, Grandpa, because I don't ever want to lose them like how they lost you. I can't imagine a day without my mom or dad. I still see the pain that it causes and how it doesn't go away. There are good days and there are bad days. I always get upset when I see how close people are to their grandparents and that they get to see them all the time. I hope they realize how lucky they are and that they never take it for granted. I wish I could have seen you more so that I could have more memories to remember you by.

I know though that you are watching over me. That is where I find comfort in the loss. I know that one day I will get to see you again, and I can't wait for it. I hope I have made you proud. I hope that all that I have accomplished and will accomplish makes you smile from ear to ear. I hope that the person I marry is someone you would approve of. And I hope that my kids get more time with their grandpa than I did because the amount I got wasn't fair.

I want to say thank you for raising your child to be the best parent ever because they will one day be the best grandparent ever. Just like you.

Cover Image Credit: Katelyn McKinney

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Big Brother, Here's What You Really Need To Know

No matter how old we get, I will always be your little sister.

Growing up nearly five years apart hasn’t been easy. We were never close enough in age to bond over similar troubles nor were we far enough in age to ignore the other’s existence. Stuck in an awkward middle, we made it work.

There was a time when I was attached at your hip. I thought you were the coolest person on the planet, so I made a point to do everything you did. Sorry if you found that annoying. Hopefully all the times I waited on your hand and foot for hours just to get thirty minutes of playing time on the PlayStation made up for it.

Naturally, we didn’t always get along.

I remember a period of time where we wanted absolutely nothing to do with one another. Nasty name calling, a fat lip, and a lot of yelling later, you had suddenly grown up. You were always gone for one reason or another, and when you were home, you camped out in the basement with never much to say.

Sometimes I would sit on the couch and watch you play video games, searching for something to say in hopes that things would go back to the way they once were, but instead, I just enjoyed your presence.

If I’m being completely honest, I used to be jealous. Maybe that’s my middle child syndrome speaking, but you seemed to be the favorite child who had everything, and our younger brother was spoiled rotten. Which left me to just…exist.

Even as I threw myself a pity party, you were the only person I ever looked up to.

As I went off to college nearly 700 miles from everything I’ve known, I’m glad you are only 60 miles away with a free meal and good conversation. It’s meant the world to me during a chaotic year.

Thanks for being my big brother.

Cover Image Credit: Kyler DeLancey

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