I don’t know much of a life without a dog. Our first dog, Nugget, was a present from Santa when I was 3 years old, and her running around the Christmas tree chasing me is one of my earliest memories. From that moment on, I had a best friend. So did my brother and my sister, and my mother and my father. It seems crazy how easily she became one of the most important aspects of our lives.
Thinking back on it, I cannot imagine a childhood without a dog. Which made it that much harder when we had to say goodbye. Almost 14 years to the day that we met, we said goodbye to Nugget on a cold December morning. The idea of getting another dog was brought up but I couldn’t imagine anything else filling the void that Nugget had left. In my mind, no other dog would ever compare.
In the month between losing my first best friend and finding my new one, the world around us all just kind of seemed to stop. The house was empty without the patter of her paws up and down the hallway, and the kitchen seemed lacking when her bowls were stored away. I could see day-to-day how much my mother missed her fourth child, her baby. It was obvious that something was missing from our lives.
If you’ve ever had a dog, you would know that it is near impossible to just have one in your lifetime. So, naturally, we went out and got another Golden Retriever as fluffy and loving as she was – though we knew no dog would ever be the same.
Bailey was the fattest of the bunch but by far the cutest. My father, who had been against getting another dog, caved as soon as he saw her. She adored my mother, followed my brother around everywhere, and let my sister hold her for hours on end. She brought joy back into their lives and into mine as well. Though no dog could ever replace Nugget, she helped to fill the void that we had all been feeling.
Heartbreak is inevitable with a dog. Though our time with them is short, it is so precious and so worth it. While they are just a part of their lives, we are their whole life and there is no better sight than seeing how excited they get when we walk in the door. No matter what the world throws at you, or where life takes you, your dog will always see you as the best thing. They will always care.
Take care of them and they’ll take care of you. Even in the darkest of times, they will always be there to make sure that you have a best friend.