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Short Story

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Sitting in a familiar place, I can remember walking with him along these same paths. My fondest memories of him are from last November. Now the scenery has changed. Everything is greener, there is a smell of fresh, clean cut grass in the air, and I can feel the heat radiating off my shoulders. The water coming out of the fountain reminds me of the sound of him lapping water out of his bowl. Sarge was always a happy puppy. His thick red-orange fur, a signature trait of a dark-golden retriever, always helped keep me warm in the winter months.

I remember the first time I brought him home from the breeder where my family bought him. He was a little fur ball at 8 weeks old and was very timid. The first night at his new house he whimpered all night long like he was calling for his mom, brothers, and sisters. I remember trying to sleep next to him on the living room floor for the first night, but that was impossible.

I tried relaxing him by saying, "It's okay Sarge, just calm down," but he had no intentions of doing so that whole night.

Eventually, Dad came out of his bedroom and said, "Sally, just go sleep in your own bed tonight, it seems Sarge is going to be whimpering the whole night."

"But Dad, I just want to try and calm him down."

"Tonight Sarge just needs to be left alone," said Dad, "you can sleep with him tomorrow night if he isn't whimpering anymore."

"Okay Dad," I said. I gathered my pillow and blankets and went back to my bedroom. I hoped Sarge would be okay all by himself and that I would get to sleep with him tomorrow night.

Eventually, Sarge started to overcome his anxiety of leaving his own family behind and started showing off his personality. He was very active and friendly, not only as a puppy, but also when he was older. His favorite things to do were go on a walk, go play fetch with a tennis ball, and going on a car ride. He looked so cute in the car. When Dad would roll the windows down, Sarge would go back and forth between the two windows in the back seat. When he would stick his head out of the window, Dad and I would both laugh because his tongue would be hanging out of his mouth like he was trying to eat the air. I remember one time he stuck his head outside of the car window while he had his tennis ball in his mouth and the wind was so strong that all of a sudden his tennis ball went straight out of his mouth onto the side of the road. Dad pulled over and we tried to find his tennis ball, but it was nowhere to be seen. Dad and I were laughing at what had just happened, and Sarge just looked at us like nothing had happened with his head still stuck out of the car window and wagging his tail.

Sarge was like another member of the family; we didn't consider him as just a pet. Whenever we went somewhere for more than a day, we thought of Sarge and what we would do with him, if he would go to a doggie hotel, if we would hire a dog sitter, or if he would come with us. When Sarge would get sick we would take him straight to the doctor (vet). It was as if he were a normal human being.

I remember the memory of him being here where I am now, except it was Autumn, not Spring. There were no leaves on the trees and the water in the fountain was not running. I remember him happy, walking very fast, and smelling everything that he could that was in his distance. The whole family was there: Mom, Dad, Cathy, me, and of course, Sarge. We were going to different settings such as the gazebo, various benches, and statues of the university's mascot to take that year's set of Christmas pictures. He was so excited that it took many pictures to finally get a decent shot because he kept moving. And whenever someone would walk past us, he would have to go to, so he would get petted because that was just part of his friendly personality. Anytime there was no one around, he would always be by my side because we shared this strong bond between one another that was stronger than any other bond in our family with him.

I miss those times now. I feel like I have lost a best friend and an important member of our family. Since he has been gone, Dad and I have become closer. Sarge was very close to the two of us; we did everything together. Whether it was happy laughs or sad tears being shared between us, we stayed together as a family.

One day an event occurred that we would never have expected to happen, which would take us through an emotional roller coaster over the whole week. I woke up one morning to let Sarge in from outside and I noticed him just laying in the yard.

I called for him saying, "Come here Sarge.", but he could not get up.

He laid there, trying to get up, but his back legs just failed on him.



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