I lost my best-friend today. He has been with me for thirteen years now. He was fourteen.
When I first saw him in the pound, I knew I wanted him. He was in a cage with about four other puppies – his brothers and sisters. Yet, you could clearly differentiate him from the rest even though he would get lost in the confusion of a litter of puppies. Maybe it was because he was the brightest one with fur as white as the clouds. Or maybe it was because he was the most energetic of his siblings – climbing on top of them or biting their tails. He was so full of life!
I asked to adopt him, but was told that he was already adopted. I went back home that day disappointed. I kept going back to the pound every weekend after that to find another perfect pet. But none appealed to me. Until the third week, I noticed that he was still in the pound while all of his brothers and sisters were already gone. I asked why he was still in the pound. The volunteer told me that he’ll check on it. He came back a couple minutes later after getting off the phone with the “owners” to tell me that the owners could no longer have him. That day was one of the happiest days of my life. I was going to get the dog I wanted the very first time I saw him.
I named him Sparky. I didn’t think much of the name; it was just a whim of childhood actions.
From the very first day I had him, he regained his energy. And for fourteen years afterwards, he was ever the energetic Sparky. He was never really domesticated, even though he knew how to sit, stay, lay down, etc. But when he saw people – family or strangers – or food, his excitement would overpower all his self-control and would come running and jumping for attention. When we took him for walks, he would always drag and pull us. When we tell him to heel, he would listen for five minutes and walk leisurely. But afterwards, he would get bore and drag you some more. He was his own boss and his life was clearly his own.
Yet, he always showed true affection. When I would cry for the sake of being a crybaby, he would come to me. Lick me, rub his head on my shoulders. Sometimes, he would whimper with me. And other times, he would look at me with his serious eyes, as if trying to tell me to “get it together, man!” I told him secrets and he would listen patiently and without judgment. He was my comforter, confidant, and best-friend.
For fourteen years, he lived his life. And for fourteen years, he would be the first thing that would greet me through the backyard glass door every time I would come home – from school, from college, from work, from the Philippines, from Singapore.
As his life progressed, he lost the lightness of his steps and the stubbornness of his youth, but never an ounce of the life in his eyes! He struggled through many diseases – an eye infection, cataracts, frail bones. Yet, he would always still be the one to lead in walks. He never lost his tenacity in life and the genuine way he lived it.
I had to put him to sleep today. It was a difficult decision, but it was for his own good. For the past day and a half, he had been unable to move, even with pain killers. When I tried to pick him up to put him in the car, he barked – the first noise he made in two days. I backed away to give him his space. He then picked himself up and allowed me to carry him to the car. He wanted to go on his own terms – not for me to pick him up, but for him to stand on his own feet in defiance of the fragility that had overcome his life and energy.
I stayed with him throughout the procedure. I wanted to be the last person that touched him, that he saw, and he heard. I wanted him to know exactly just how much he meant to me – that I was also his comforter, confidant, and best friend. I held him when it was all over. And for the first time in fourteen years, he was lifeless.
I lost my best friend of fourteen years today. I loved him and I know that he loved me too. May he rest in peace now for he had given his family all his energy and love these past years. And for that, we thank you Sparky for being such a great dog and member of the family. We will miss you dearly.
And when I think of it, I think your named suited you quite well. You were always a gladiator in life and always provided that “spark” in my life!