Kaitlin Humphrey, Featured Columnist

     Her watery brown eyes stare back at me, looking through my soul, pleading with me to stay. Memories flash through my mind of her and me – some happy, some sad. I watch as she is taken further and further away from me. I want to run after her but I can’t. I have to remind myself that this is for the best. She will be happier now.

     I remember back to the time she had been so forgiving of my childhood foolishness. When I was 3, before I had realized that dog food was meant for dogs, I had stolen her food and eaten it, thinking it was funny. She had severely reprimanded me for my crime and tried to bite me. Although she almost made me cry, she taught me a life lesson: do not steal.

     It might seem weird to say, but in a way she was a teacher to me just as much as my parents were. She taught me the hard way to learn to clean up after myself. Often when I would play with my Barbies or Polly Pockets, I would leave their clothes and accessories strewn about the floor. She would take care of the mess by eating them, making her stomach sick and my mom angry.

     Out of the corner of my eye, I see my mom. Her face is stained by tears, and her eyes, red and swollen from constant crying, follow the vet tech. My dad, standing behind me, places his hand on my shoulder and directs me out the door of the vet’s office. I steal a glance back at my dog’s brown eyes and watch as she turns her head away from me, shutting me out of her short life forever.

     She had been my friend and protector since I was born. She had watched me night after night from the doorway when I was baby, blocking anyone from disturbing me. We played together and traveled together in the back of my mom’s minivan as we moved from Colorado to Texas. As she got older, she became more remote from my life. She got grumpy and would often snap at me. I gained understanding from her old, ladylike way. She was scared, blind and in pain.

     My sweet little dog had had been plagued with an eye infection for over a year. The infection slowly deteriorated her eye. As it worsened she would spend her days staring at one wall in our living room. She would often trip over objects and bump into walls. The vet had prescribed eye drops to help stop the infection from spreading, but each night my dog would yelp and cry out in pain as the drops burned her eyes. I would cry myself to sleep praying she could live a few years longer.

     That’s why my mom said this was for the best. My friend would no longer be in pain. I would miss her, but she would be in a better place. I could deal with the painstaking guilt and sadness, but she couldn’t deal with the pain of daily life.

     I’m closer to the door now. I can’t do it. I can’t walk out on my one friend who had been in my life every single day. I couldn’t leave her. I turn back and stare at her, my loyal dog. She must sense my stare as she makes one last turn of her head and meets my eyes. “Goodbye. I love you, Sheri,” I whisper.