I like living with Freddy. When I was a younger pup, I used to sit in his living room and wait for him to come home. Freddy worked a lot back then. He left me alone each morning, but I kept myself busy. He bought me a black leather sofa and the sun streamed through the windows of the living room. There were little specks of dust in the sunshine and I used to leap up to catch them in my mouth. I can’t jump anymore, because I am twelve years old. But I remember when I could. Freddy had a black box and out of it came vibrations that soothed me while he was gone. He called it “spa music” and he turned it on before leaving each morning. After the sun went down and there were no more specks in the sun to catch, I waited by the door for Freddy to come back. It was that time of day when I knew how much he needed me. He crouched down and kissed my head and told me that I was the best girl ever.
The years flew by. I began to get some pain in my hind legs. Freddy was going to get me surgery on something called my “ACL” but I got so angry in the surgeon’s office that he decided against it. I learned how to keep walking on my back legs, but my left one hurt a lot when it rained or snowed. Freddy brought me to a very kind doctor (a man, thank goodness), who gave me little white pills in a beef flavored snack. This helped my pain and I was still able to climb stairs for a long time.
Then, things started to change. I got nervous when Freddy began putting all our things into boxes. He even got rid of my black leather sofa. I became quite angry with him. I turned my butt in his direction while more and more items left our home. But every night I forgot to be angry when Freddy lifted me up on his bed. The woman with the pale hair was also with us. This woman seemed less sad than she used to be. Both Freddy and the woman talked about a place called Florida. Were we going someplace else? Why hadn’t they consulted me? I didn’t want to go to Florida!
One day, Freddy lifted me into his truck. I like rides. But this one felt different. Freddy sat in the front of the truck and held a round wheel. The woman with the pale hair sat next to him. I sat in the back seat and felt very confused. This trip was taking a very long time. I began to notice the vibration of the truck. I didn’t like it. My back legs started hurting. I began to gasp from the pain and Freddy stopped the truck and gave me the white pills in the beef flavored snack. He even put on the “spa music” because he knew I liked it.
The trip continued. Freddy pulled the truck over. He knew not to bring me into a motel. I hate motels. The carpets and the sheets smell like strong chemicals. This makes it so I cannot breathe right. We stayed in Freddy’s truck and there were lights overhead. Next to us were other long trucks. The air was hot. Freddy played the “spa music” as we all tried to sleep. But I couldn’t sleep. The woman with the pale hair couldn’t either. She looked back at me every so often. She was worried about something big.
Freddy woke up and the vibration of his truck started again. The trip wouldn’t end. It was taking too long. I started to have more pain in my legs and couldn’t breathe. Freddy kept stopping and putting me on the ground but it smelled totally different. There was mold everywhere. There were different plants on the ground. I kept hearing the word Florida and knew that we were here. But if we were here, why did we have to get back in the truck to keep traveling? And what did Freddy and the woman like about Florida? I was feeling worse with each moment. Why couldn’t we all go back to the black leather sofa with the specks inside the sunshine through the window? It was then that I peed all over Freddy’s truck.
My legs no longer hurt me. My body settled into the black leather like the shape my body had made in the sofa from Freddy’s house. I no longer minded the idea of Florida at all! This was a beautiful place…except that Freddy wasn’t part of what was happening now. He wasn’t part of the sunshine and the specks of dust. He couldn’t see that I could jump again.
I didn’t know what to do. I had to make a choice. I’ve always put Freddy first, always taken care of him and have always been his best girl. How could I possibly leave him alone? What would he do without me? I tried to focus on the hurt in my legs and my difficulty breathing, but I knew I couldn’t stay with him. I remembered the smell of my father when I was a pup. I remembered going to Freddy’s house for the first time. And then I knew what to do.
I nuzzled my snout against the elbow of the woman with the pale hair. I spoke quietly, so that only she could hear me. “Tell Freddy that I have to go someplace now. I wish I didn’t have to. He isn’t going to do well without me. But you know how to take care of him like I do. I want you to tell him I am worth crying for, and he will cry every day for a really long time. Also, I don’t like girls, but you’ll do in this case.” The woman nodded. She placed her hand on the top of my head and I closed my eyes.
I let out a very long sigh. The Florida sky led me right to where I am going to stay forever. I’ll be waiting at Freddy’s door.