It was afternoon when the girl received the text. Her heart dropped and shattered into a million pieces.

When she arrived to the house, he continued to lay there. It was as if his body was frozen on the hardwood floor. “Hey, bud, are you awake,” she asked. When she slid the chair across the floor, the old dog propped his head up. His bones ached as he stretched and tried his best to get up. “It’s okay, you can stay laying down. I’ll come to you,” she said. She sat down on the floor next to him, staring into his glossy, marble eyes. She felt her own eyes begin to swell up with tears. “I’m so sorry,” she said. She stroked his long, golden fur. He laid his head on her lap. It was peaceful.

He had been around for 14 years and he was her first best friend. She remembered when she got him in 7th grade. Back then she was afraid of dogs, now all she wanted to do was cradle the senior citizen dog. He looked up at her with curious eyes even though he was almost blind. His tail didn’t wag because it couldn’t. He didn’t sit up like he used to because he couldn’t. All he did was stare.

“I should’ve never left you when I was in college. I know I should’ve brought you with me, and I’m sorry that when I came back I didn’t cherish you like I used to…but I want you to know that I’ll always love you and you’ll always be in my heart.”

She sniffed and wiped away the tears streaming down her cheeks. She looked up, grabbed a spoon, and opened the peanut butter jar. His little face seemed to perk up. His eyes almostĀ sparkled. She took a spoonful of peanut butter, and fed it to her dog. Because he was so old, he tried to chew the spoon instead of lick it. Peanut butter hung from his snout until he realized it was there. He licked his lips and looked up, begging for more. She laughed. When the spoon was licked clean, she threw it away.

The sun was beginning to set and she had to go home. She hugged him as hard as she could, which wasn’t that hard because he wouldn’t be able to handle it. He stood there, frozen in place. She kissed him on his cheek and said, “Bye, Joe. I’ll see you next time.”

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I’ll never forget you, Joe.

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