A Dog's Best Friend
It was a dream come true for a hopeful six year old who was looking for a new best friend. He was in the crate with a dozen other new born barking puppies. On any other day I would have wanted to leave, but on this day I ignored all the barking and wining of the other pups. The front of the crate was like a food kitchen at the local church on Sundays. The overly crowded front of the crate was filled with little puppies looking for a hand to lick; looking for a new couch to chew up.
He wasn't like the others; he was low to the ground, looking for help. With his chin down and his eyes up, I told my parents "I want him!" Spike was special, unlike all the other dogs. He didn't play with his brothers or sisters; he just sat there, in the corner of the crate, looking sullen. The newest member of the family was chosen and brought out of the crate; I could only imagine what the other pup's felt at that second. They were toys in the amusement park machines; the claw never picked them up.
We took Spike into our car that later ended up reeking of throw up. We marched the intimidated pup out of the ruined interior of the car, and brought him up to the apartment. Spike explored the apartment, but also became friendly with our wooden floor, which was flooded with puddles of Spike's urine.
Spike was a rare breed; he was a country dog, not a city dog. Whenever my family and I took a vacation, we sent Spike to the local dog camp that offered care taking services to dogs. When we would come back from vacation to pick Spike up, Spike would be in the corner of the room, not interacting with any dogs. Spike had never interacted with dogs in a large room. He was a shy yet affectionate dog. Aside from not being interactive with other dogs, Spike was always looking for family attention. Spike would prop him self up on the couch right next to me, and put his cheeks right up to my lips and look for kisses.
Mom took Spike to the park every morning before she dropped me off at school. At the park, Spike would have social interactions in Central Park. Spike was known throughout the puppy world for his quick movements and propelling legs. He closed in on the neon tennis ball like target practice. Until this day, I have not seen a faster dog than Spike.
Over the last two years, Spike developed a lump inside his throat that was classified as cancer. We took Spike to the doctor in October of 2008 and they told us the cancer was moving through the body, and there was little they could do. Dark clouds started to surround my brain as I took in the information. I couldn't picture life without Spike. He was my true pal and best friend. He slept with me every night and when I woke up, he woke up. I recall a time when I was brushing my teeth, and I looked over and Spike was right there, smiling. I imagined what he would be saying, "My breath stinks."
Dinner conversations were rarely about Spike because he was family, and he was always putting his front claws on the edge of the table looking for his share of dinner. By January the cancer had spread to Spike's hind leg, and he could no longer put pressure on that leg. Watching him limp around the house made me upset almost every day, knowing that even worse times were upon the family. Watching Spike limp around while I took him on walks was a distressing scene. Even with three legs, Spike was still fast on his paws. He never gave up.
By February 1st, 2009 news had come that the best thing for Spike was for him to be in peace. On February 4th, 2009 we drove Spike, who had grey hairs all along his beautiful visage. As we drove through the New York countryside, Spike began to look around, frantic as if he knew what was up. His mouth opened and he started to breath heavily. His whines were shrill and my eyes started to tear. I remember Spike urinating in the back seat because he was so nervous. As we approached the animal hospital, my parents exited the front seats and left me in the back with Spike for five minutes. My head was down, my eyes were up; I was nervous; similar to what Spike had been feeling the day we picked him up. I picked Spike up, gave him a deep kiss and put one foot in front of the other. As I entered the door, tears flew to my eyes like a predator to his prey. I looked at my parents with a frown and mouth wide open mouthing the word, "Why."
The room was pale with light blues and off colored whites; the window faced a desolate snow covered tree. I felt pain and sorrow, I couldn't bear where I was. The doctor came through the windowless swinging door and explained what was happening and how things were to be done. He was going to give my dog a painless injection that would drive Spike towards unconsciousness. Then, I asked the doctor if I could bring Spike to the back room, where the final injection would take place. We all understood, and my parents said their goodbye's, which were full of tears and love. My parents said I should have five minutes alone with Spike. I explained to Spike how much I loved him and how he was the best friend I'd ever and always have.
The doctor came back with his injection and Spike began to wobble and slowly crouch lower and lower to the floor. I brought Spike to the back room and said my goodbye and gave him his final last kiss on the cheek. I said goodbye to Spike and tears started to roll off my cheeks as I left the hospital. My love will never end for Spike; his ashes will always be by my bed.
After seven months the grief still lives within me. I have not fully forgotten about the gloomy memories I have, and the happy times I had with my dog. The pain I am feeling is unlike any other physical pain. This is a mental pain; a remembering pain.
I have seven stitches on my head from when I was six years old. My head hit the corner of a desk when I fell off my bed. Till this day you can still see the stitches. Anyone can see the stitches and think that I am okay. I am. I am okay on the outside. On the inside I still remember the pain I went through. I still remember the vulgar words coming out of my mouth during the seven stitches were stitched into my bloody head. See, on the outside you think everything is okay. On the inside, I still feel the pain. I still remember that scar and how it got there.
I have not moved on from the fact that my best friend, Spike, is gone. My scars have healed though, and you may think I am fine from the outside. But the outside world does not know the inside pain I deal with. The remembering pain I have to deal with when looking back. When looking at the scars I have today I remember the pain and the grief that I deal with. The scars are still present, and they will always be. My heart is scarred with loving memories that turned to sadness. On the outside you can't tell; but I can.