About an hour or so after my junior league water polo practice had ended I sat on curb of the nearby high school waiting for my mom to pick me up. Being relatively young I did not yet have a cell phone to call her so all I could do was wait. When she finally drove up in the white station wagon I was reasonably upset, but when I saw my dog Madison in the car my attitude changed. She was an energetic little Australian Shepard and for me it was just like the old saying, “a dog is a man’s best friend”. It’s true my dog was my best friend. But when I looked closer I noticed a few small shaved patches on her head so I asked my mom what they were and why was she so late. She said she was at the vet and that Madison had a few growths that were probably not a big deal but needed to be checked out. I was worried but my mom made it seem like it was nothing so I didn’t trouble myself for much longer.
That summer I was busier then I had ever been with 9 AM swim practice, summer camps and 3:30 water polo practice. I didn’t have as much time to hang with my dog as I wanted but she would always be there when I came home. She could make me smile by doing the simplest things, like running to the door when I came home or giving me a big kiss in the morning to wake me up. But as the summer went by she seemed to get less and less energetic and went to the vet more and more. Somewhere in the middle my mom told
me the bad news. Madison had cancer and the vets were doing the best they could to get rid of it.
Looking at my mom through the metal bars of the fence at my local pool I asked, “Mom, can Alex come over”. She looked at me with despair and said, “This isn’t a good time honey, get in the car I need to talk to you”. I was worried by the look in her eyes and I could tell something had happened. As I got in the car I could see my little brother in the backseat crying and at that moment I knew. My dog, my best friend had been put to sleep. The worst part was that I didn’t even get to say goodbye.
I didn’t realize how much my best friend really meant to me until she was gone.
She would cheer me up when I was sad, she would play with me when know one else would. My best friend helped me realize what I believe. I believe we must hold our family and friends close because it’s easy to underestimate how much someone or something really means to you.