Two years ago, I was given a dog named Captain. He was a Christmas present from Mom and Dad. He was a German Shepherd, and he was huge! He was only four months when we got him. Black with tan paws, brown shining eyes, and covered in loads of fur. I knew from the moment I saw him he was perfect. We had been begging for years to get a dog. All six of us kids, especially me, though I was only ten. In my eyes, he was everything. He was love. He was a joy. He was happy. I love the feeling of his pink tongue rubbing my cheek.
I loved to kiss him on the top of his head each day as I walked out early in the morning just as the sun rose and spread its beams across the earth, kissing the clouds and making the dew glow golden. We had a small backyard, but it was fenced in. Smiling every day, we would get up to play with him. Over the months, he grew, and we would play fetch for long periods, but he never grew tired, unlike us. Slowly the number of children going outside to throw the ball each day decreased until it was only me.
Wondering how they could give up on such a wonderful dog, I was upset that they acted as if it was a chore. I lovingly played without the help of my brothers and sisters. Even when I grew tired, Captain was bursting with energy. He was also beaming with doggy smiles, and I loved how funny he looked when he yawned. His tongue would roll out, making a high-pitched yawning noise. It still makes me laugh to think about it.
Sometimes in the afternoon, he would hop on our giant trampoline and nap on his back. Amusingly his paws would swat the air as if he were chasing a big piece of steak. He knew when I was sad and would try to cheer me up. He would show me he could kick his ball with his nose. He knew when I was happy and
would get his ball stuck somewhere and cleverly find a way to get it back. Then one horrible night, Mom and Dad told me they were taking him back to his breeder. “Captain needs more room and exercise than we can give him,” Mom said gently. Her glasses reflected the light only to make it look like she was glowing. “And we need to think of his best interests and what is good for him,” Dad joined in.
About two weeks later was when they told me that the next day they were taking him back. I cried for hours until I had no tears left and drifted into a troubled sleep. Dad would drive to Birmingham in the morning. We lived in Mississippi a few hours away. I wasn’t going to be allowed to go, but then Mom and
Dad had second thoughts and told me I could go. It cheered me a bit that I would be able to spend a little longer with my precious dog. But my heart was broken, and it seemed nothing would mend the shattered pieces except keeping my dog Captain. We drove and met the breeder outside a store like Walmart but different. He and his wife drove up in a short white car. They trained German shepherds to be rescue dogs and had some kids of their own.
They were friendly and would take care of him fine, but Captain made it clear that I was his person. He never growled though glowered and sent suspicious looks at the man who was a little familiar, yet it was as if he was trying to remember him. He warmed up a little over the next thirty minutes but mostly sniffed around the parking lot in front of the market. Finally, the time came, and though he did not exactly love hugs, I gave Captain a final one. Kissing his head, I buried my face in his fur for the last time. The next thing I knew, they were gone, and I was looking out the window of our car, half-conscious.
I was dead but alive. Pain jabbed my heart more than ever. We’d had him for over a year! When I got home, I walked to the backyard with a hammer, nails, and a metal sign and hammered it into the play-set. “The Good Old Days” is the one I picked, not “Dreams Always Come True” because they don’t always, but you can always form a new one.
I shed many a tear writing this, and I don’t know or care if this wins a prize. All I want is for people to hear this story and know that Captain did no wrong and was perfect. I could never deserve a dog so wonderful. I solemnly swear that when I get my driver’s license, I will search the ends of the world for him to say hi and mend this broken heart. I, Abigail, swear that, at the very least, my love will find you wherever you are. This event is the saddest thing in my life I have ever felt, but it is also the most emotional thing that has happened to me in my short life. But it has helped mold me into the person I am.
Abby M. is one of my grandchildren. She is an avid reader, writer, and storyteller.
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