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Middle School Non-Fiction 1st Place

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Middle School - Essay/Non-Fiction
First Place
My Best Friend
Faith Logan

Having a dog is an important part of childhood, in my opinion. I think having something you can talk to and cuddle with is really important. When a dog licks your hand or nuzzles you with its nose, you get the sense that you are the most important thing in the world to that dog, and you are. When a dog you love dies, you hurt as if a family member has died, and in a sense one has.

My mother, sister, and I foster dogs until they get permanent homes. My mom is a veterinarian, so homeless dogs come into her clinic all the time. One of these foster dogs would change my life forever. She came when I was four, with a name already given to her: Molly. She had been tied to a tree with no food and water and the rope around her neck wasn’t long enough for her to even lie down.  When we got her, she was shy and anxious, but Molly and I immediately bonded. Molly had a tendency to pee whenever she got nervous, which happened quite a lot. Thunder storms, fireworks, even the vacuum, scared her. My mother soon came to the conclusion that Molly was unadoptable. I, of course, wanted to keep her.
 
At this point, I was still coming to sleep in my mom’s bed every night. I decided to negotiate. I told my mom that if we could keep Molly, I would never sleep in her bed again. My mother agreed and I got my first dog.

Molly wasn’t the cutest dog I’d ever seen, but she was small and loved to cuddle.  When she was especially nervous, she would chew apart rugs and nibble on furniture. Our life with Molly was a tough one.

Even through the tough times, Molly was my favorite animal in the entire world. She was most comfortable around me, and she didn’t like big groups of people. At parties or family gatherings, she spent most of her time huddled in a corner as far away from the people as she could get. In this way, Molly and I were very similar. Big groups of people made me anxious and uncomfortable. I would much rather have been reading books than talking to a family friend. Molly and I would often sit alone upstairs, me reading a book and absentmindedly petting her as she dozed off beside me. No one contradicted me when I said she was mine. Molly was not a family dog that my sister and I shared. Molly was mine and only mine.

When I was ten, my grandmother was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. She was given two months to live and we tried to make that time meaningful. She tried chemotherapy, but that made her very ill, and it was too late for chemo to help. As she slowly passed away, we spent most of our time at her house, which was only five minutes away from our own.
When we were away one day, Molly was lonely and scared. She tore apart and ingested a rug; the threads of the rug couldn’t pass through her system. The doctors went into surgery to remove the pieces of rug and found colon cancer.

Molly was so fragile and frail when she came out of the cage after her surgery. She had a little bag connected to her, to collect the excess blood in her system. Seeing her like this was heartbreaking. She wobbled over and we took her home, prepared to put her to sleep. We laid her down on my bed, me whispering reassuring things in her ear. She looked into my eyes and lying there, weak and tired, she sighed as my mom injected the drug that would slow my beloved dog’s heart down until it stopped.
We love dogs knowing that we are going to lose them. We take the risk of loving them, knowing that we are going to go through pain when they die.

As I grieved Molly, I thought about how even though she was nervous and scared all the time, she found someplace safe when she came to our house. In my house, no one would ever hurt her. She found someplace she belonged. She found home.
 
The first dog you have is always the one you love the most. The first dog you lose is the one you miss the most. I will always remember the good times Molly and I had. Her ashes will be a constant reminder that I helped a scared, lonely creature find someplace that she could call her own.

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