Ryan - Rexburg, Idaho
Entered on January 29, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

It started out as a typical Sunday. I woke up before my parents and ran downstairs to get a bowl of cereal. As I was enjoying my breakfast, I heard a scratching noise coming from the front door. Being the curious five year old I was, I ran over to see what was making the noise. Through the narrow window along the left side of our front door, I saw a little red dog. I ran up the winding staircase to my parent’s room, where I told them that there was a little dog dancing outside the door who wanted to come inside. After much convincing, they finally agreed to come down and see what I was so excited about. We opened the front door to find a dirty pomeranian, with matted fur and no tag. He was obviously homeless because he looked starved.

My parents called the pound because they didn’t want a dog, especially a dirty looking one. Within minutes of playing with this new dog I named him Clifford, because of his reddish hair. I took him into our kitchen and feed him some pepperoni. I would hold up each piece of pepperoni and he would dance on his hind legs until I gave it to him. We played together for the rest of the day. At the end of the day, I begged my parents to let me keep them, but all they kept telling me was no. I finally went up and talked to them as grown up as I could, and told that Clifford needed me. I explained to them that he could have gone up to any house in the neighborhood, but he came to ours. He was homeless and didn’t have anywhere else to go. Reluctantly they agreed I could keep him. Inside, I knew that the little dog needed me.

For over two years Clifford was my best friend. In my eyes, he was the perfect dog. I took care of him, and spent as much time with him as I could. Up until the day he died, he was always by my side.

Throughout my life I have never forgot Clifford. I didn’t realize what he taught me until years later, but whenever I think of him, I remember all the fun we had. More importantly I remember how he taught me the importance of helping others. Although Clifford has been gone for many years I will never forget what I learned from him.

This I believe, that you must always be ready to serve. Even if it means helping out a little homeless, starving dog. As insignificant as it may seem, Clifford taught me that I must always be ready to help those in need.