I remember when he first came into my life. He was so young and innocent; it seemed play time was unlimited. We both saw plenty of other pets or humans before we finally met. But when we did meet, it was settled. Instant match. I have no regrets and am glad to have called him my best friend for years.
Leaving the shelter to go to our furever home was scary but exciting! Just a happy man carrying an even happier pup to the car. It was our first car ride together. The scent of fresh pine embraced our noses; the wind blowing through our hair was stimulating as we drove home. I remember impatience, however, as we shared our first weeks together. It's ok though, every new pair takes a little time getting used to each other.
The next few years seemed to fly by for both of us. Learning each other's nuances and both of us seemingly training the other. No matter how difficult the day was, however, I always made sure to comfort him at the end of it. Strange. His emotions often reflected how I felt too. When he was nervous or upset, it made me equally so. And both of us being happy and smiling and playing ensured we had each other's backs no matter what!
Neither of us were picky eaters; we'd always triple-check each other's plates to ensure no scraps were left behind. I think my favorite memories of us, despite the fun walks and car rides, were probably breakfast and dinner times. All he would have to do is look at me and I knew what time of day it was: food time! Both of us have allergies to certain foods so we'd have to be careful what we eat. Dogs, of course, are hypersensitive to a number of things that humans find nutritious and delicious (dogs find the delicious part of the food chain to be most important). "No crumbs left behind!" has always been a motto of mine.
There was one food, however, that I was "banished" from trying because he would not let me: chocolate. His sweet tooth was so greedy, whenever I happened to go near a piece of chocolate he would scream at me! Knowing his mannerisms by this point, I would simply bow down and lay out of respect and discipline. One day for his birthday though, he had a tempting piece of chocolate cake and he walked away.
I'd like to think I'm well trained and obedient but there are some things even dogs (as entrepreneurs of all things food) can never resist. I broke few rules; I mean I only ever constantly got into the trash or learned how to open the door on the fridge and help myself to breakfast. Oh! And the time he caught me on the kitchen counter going through his pop-tarts on the top shelf! That was fun. Well worth the grounding. This, however...This is something I HAD to try. And it eventually cost me everything.
As he left the room, I swear I tried my best to be contempt and resist the sweet, savory, rich smell of the triple fudge chocolate cake he left on the table. If you think about it, it's technically his fault. I mean, he saw me on top of his kitchen counters! Of course I can get on the table. Anyways, I did a bad thing. I got on the table and ate the entire cake. No crumb left behind.
It didn't take long before he came back into the room and you would think he saw a crime scene! He screamed and I was so happy and full I just wanted to lay down. He grabbed me pretty roughly, though, and I didn't like that. It made me worried; did I do something bad? He got on his phone and started calling someone. They apparently told him to pour some foul tasting water down my mouth. I threw that up; it was gross both ways.
Pretty soon, I started to vomit a bit more. And more. And more...I got really thirsty and hot for some reason; it must've been whatever he poured down my throat. Without warning, I accidentally peed on his carpet. I didn't even have to go. Then, I felt my heart racing as if it were about to burst from my chest. Something, I think now, is wrong. I looked at Ryan one more time, his terrified face, and all I could envision was the day he picked me up from the shelter. It was the happiest day of my life and I'm glad I got to witness it again before I fell to the ground and started shaking uncontrollably; I got incredibly sleepy and then everything went black.
Ryan used to watch movies and TV shows or read stories of dogs always being the hero. One of the common themes of humans dying in cinema is the fact that their life flashes before them. It must be the same for dogs 'cus I remember when he first came into my life....
It's been years since we've met each other and I fear it'll only be moments before I leave him and it's my fault. What will he do without me? I won't be there to comfort him on his long days. I won't be there to lay next to him at night. Or play with him. How will he get on without me? I keep thinking, for whatever reason, of this movie he showed me when I was younger: "A Dog's Purpose." Supposedly, it portrays how a dog's only justification in life is to bring love and laughter to those they meet. I feel I can sleep well now knowing that Ryan had those "life changing" days. As I lay wherever it is I lay, I think finally on the importance that I had on Ryan's life; a life full of love and laughter. Not always a glamorous life but a life that I never would trade, even with this outcome. One mistake that I made will never take away a lifetime of love for each other.
I awoke, somehow, in a strange place; shiny, clean...I was never taught what it means to believe in heaven from Ryan but maybe this is it. The room is immaculate and professional looking. I feel weak and tired and scared as I scan the room and see only a woman in fatigues as she looks over me. She sweetly pats me on the head, gives me a gentle kiss and leaves the room; this room which is foreign to me, yet, I feel a sense of calm. I lay on a table in the middle of this unfamiliar territory with a lot of... different kinds of bodily fluids. It smells like other dogs and animals. I can hear barks and yells and calls from others outside of the room. Am I in a safe place? I try to sit up but the spinning room prevents me from doing so. The door then opens and I feel a warm, familiar embrace. My vision is still blurry but I hear the words "Good boy! You are never allowed to die again."
I remember when he first came into my life...and I remember almost leaving his. I can't wait to get home and play.