Every time I pulled into my driveway I could always look forward to slobbery kisses from an overexcited black lab. She would run down the porch stairs and as soon as the car door was cracked open, even just an inch, her nose would push it open the rest of the way. She had the impossible want to be a lap dog even though she weighed over 100 pounds.
It all started with a day out and a sign. My dad excitedly said that he saw a sign for free puppies and though my mom was against it we stopped "just to look." We saw four little pups running around outside when a woman came to tell us that she couldn't afford to keep all the puppies and she was giving them away in hope that they would find a good home. My mom tried to get away but soon all of us were petting and playing with a female black lab puppy with a white chest and white on the paw. My dad said he'd like one and the minute I heard that I was begging for the sweet little girl. This dog had sad eyes but a happy heart and my mom couldn't resist. We went to the nearest store to get a box and went back to pick her up and bring her home. I sat and looked at her next to me in the back seat and I said "I want to name her Haylee," which combined "Hank" the name of my dog we'd just lost (being the reason my mom didn't want another one) and Lee (the name of my deceased grandfather). The name stuck.
She was always happy but I'll never forget what it was like seeing her in the snow. She jumped into piles of snow and ran so fast over ice she'd end up sliding into the snow at the end. This is what she liked and she always wanted to be outside. No matter what the season she'd play until she was tired and then lay in the sun watching my parents work outside or fix up their cars. She loved watching them and being around them, and it made it even better that they gave her treats all the time. When they would take the garbage up to the town dump she would ride shotgun to get a treat from the man who worked there every time. This was her favorite time of the week.
She grew and long after she'd grown to full height, her stomach kept getting bigger. As she grew I began calling her "Bear bear" or "Haylee bear" due to her size. She began answering to this nickname and sometimes would think I was home if my parents called her that. We gave her proper exercise but she loved her food too much for that to do any good. Perhaps we spoiled her a little but she was a sweetheart and she deserved to be pampered with her best friend Spooky, our black cat.
She was my best friend through high school. One animal became my confidant, my pillow, my shoulder to cry on, and my comfort. When I'd had a bad day she'd jump in bed with me and lick my hand when I cried. She'd lay with me or my mom through the night. She was a cuddly dog, so much so that she broke two chairs because she wanted to sit on them with us. Going away to college was hard enough on me but many nights while thinking about home, I cried longing for my friend.
She turned six in March and we celebrated just like every year. We made her some mac and cheese (her favorite food!) and she ate a cupcake. She was so excited. Then a few weeks ago my mom called saying something was wrong and my dog was bleeding. The vet said it was a urinary tract infection but things got worse. She developed severe anemia and went blind in both eyes. In two weeks I'd rushed home three times because I thought I was going to lose her. Things would get better and we gained so much hope which made the next call even worse.
It was 6 am on my dad's birthday and my cell phone rang. I was confused as to why my mom was calling so early. The next words made my body go numb.
"Pack some things, I'm coming to get you so you can say goodbye. She's taken a downturn and we have to put her out of this pain."
I cried the whole hour and a half home. I spent two hours saying goodbye to her and I just couldn't go to the vet. My mom came back alone and cried telling us how her veins collapsed as they tried to put the needles in. They had to go through the heart directly and that's when they discovered that blood was filling up her lungs. She was worse than we thought. After the first shot she began snoring and the vet told my mom that she was in a relaxed state. One more stopped her heart.
I have countless stories I could tell about my dog. She was hysterical in some of the things she did. She was happy. She was loved. I know that she's in a better place now and if it snows in heaven, she'll leave paw prints wherever she goes.