To My Dying Best Friend

Monday, April 9, 2018

I probably asked you so many times that you just wanted me to shut up and finally gave in. I was only 7 going on 8 and I really wanted one. The four of us drove down to Puppy Boutique were there were mostly Yorkies and Pomeranians. All of us were severely asthmatic at the time. So it had to be a hypoallergenic one. Also, all those dogs...they all looked...well the same. There wasn't one that stood out- one that was the right fit.

The pup seller or specialist or whatever you call the dog sellers said she had a few more in the back. The first one was a big Bichon Frise. White, with a little pink bow on top. The girly dog was a little out of our budget. And then, she brought out you. You were sooooo tiny. Only a mere 4 months old, a purebred Poodle. To this day I still think it was a racist puppy boutique because the only black dog in store was on sale..."the winter special in the middle of July," but whatever. We all took our turns holding little you until my mom yelled out "Poochie!" And that was that.

We drove you home in the car that night, we had a little box in the center of our room with a little blanket inside waiting for you. But what you had waiting for us that morning was even better. You had shit all over the parking lot of the Hot Wheels themed carpet we had; multiple shits included. That's when I wanted to bring you back. At 7 I was cleaning shit and not liking it.

Around that time I was in the process of convincing my mom that I wanted to go vegetarian, and she didn't approve. But you, you ate EVERYTHING. She made meat a lot more often than she does now. She cooked chuletas a lot, which is Spanish for "Pork chops." I hated them, they were gross, but they made you lick your lips. So whenever she wasn't looking I would give them to you, and thats how I named you. Pork Chop.

Fast forward a few years later, were you were stolen from the front yard...for the first of three times. To the point where we had to hire a detective to get into someones house in order to get you back. You've lived a crazy life. In more ways, you experienced more of the hood than I ever will.

Fast forward to the college years, specifically my freshman year, which was the hardest year of my life. Going home some weekends was the best because I got to sleep in with you by my side. When the hurricane hit and we lost half the house and had no water or heat, it was us cuddling under multiple blankets for warmth. You always had your best little smile on despite the circumstances.

When I got really sick that summer, and spent most of my days sleeping, you would wake me up with kisses and lick away my tears. Dogs really do have a therapeutic element to them, they really do.

For a dog, you are very conceited. You have a deep understanding of the word "selfie." Hell, you can do them better than me. The craziest part is when you have a tendency of smiling in pictures when I do too. You aren't that big, about the size of my thigh, yet only you can manage to take up the entire bed and grunt if I were to even make the smallest movement. Forbid people ever came over, you always wanted all of the attention....and their food. Every single night without fail, you always hop in bed and cuddle right into me, and we sleep like that until morning. Sometimes, with your paws sticking out the covers.

16 years later. Yes, you've managed to live 16 years. Which is pretty astonishing. Yesterday we were told that your tumor had grown twice the size. They couldn't diagnose it at first because they weren't sure. Now we've been told it's cancer and that you need to be put to sleep. How do you tell your best friend that he's dying? Does he already know? How do you tell him that you have the power to make that happen?

I was waiting for the train when I got that text and instantly exploded into tears. For someone that owns over 15 pairs of glasses you'd think I'd have a pair on me when I needed them the most.

All I could think about was the clanking of your collar as you'd run to greet me at the gate. How you open presents every year on Christmas. How much you hate showers but love getting your hair blow dried. All these random flashbacks throughout your life just coming to me. I cried until I had no tears left and went to work with bloodshot eyes.

The year 1989 reassured me that "All Dogs go to Heaven."

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