“Not too long ago, she was the little girl of the family who tried to make me eat flowers because she hated me! I ran away that time. Now, I can’t run so well anymore. I get up and try to get my beat-up monkey that I named Robert. Seeing me struggle, Jess puts down her book and grabs Robert.”
Sitting on the porch with my favorite human beside me, I can’t help but think about how much older she looks now. Not too long ago, she was the little girl of the family who tried to make me eat flowers because she hated me! I ran away that time. Now, I can’t run so well anymore. I get up and try to get my beat-up monkey that I named Robert. Seeing me struggle, Jess puts down her book and grabs Robert.
“Good dog, Buddy,” she praises me as she sticks Robert in my drooling mouth.
I will forever be loyal to Jess. She may not have always liked me, but she is my favorite person in the world. My name is Buddy. I’m a black lab who is ten years old. You must know that I am nearing the end of my life. That is why I am here to tell you the story of my life.
So as it was, I was the last of my brothers and sisters to be adopted. I didn’t know why, but I was all alone in a rusty pen. That’s when it happened. A man came in alone. Guy said some stuff and the big man that was in charge picked me up.
“Will this little guy do?” he gruffly asked.
“He’s perfect!” Guy smiled.
I didn’t understand a single thing they were saying, but I went along and that’s how I wound up in a machine thing. He stuck me in the back and went in the front.
After a while we pulled up in front of a white house. Guy got out of the machine. I struggled to jump out. All of a sudden, a boy came running and he hugged me so tight I was choking! Lady came out and gave me a collar.
“Jess, come see your birthday present!” Guy called into the house.
“What is it?” a girl’s voice called.
“Come and see!” Guy yelled back.
A little girl came running out of the house.
“A-a-a-a dog?” she timidly asked.
I could smell the scent of unwillingness and sadness steaming off of her.
“It’s to replace Riley, your old dog!” Guy beamed.
Jess bolted back into the house and I was very confused. Was there another dog here called Riley?
“She’s not ready to forget Riley, Mike, don’t push it,” Lady patted Guy on the back.
“Well, maybe in time she’ll accept Buddy,” Guy trudged inside and I followed him.
Apparently the house was all set. There was a bed, two bowls, a cage, and a pen like the one I had been in for so many months. The odd thing was that it faintly smelled like another dog. I decided to ignore this thought and check out what the family was doing.
“Buddy!” Boy called holding out a ball.
“Go get the ball!” Dad (as I heard the boy call him) Guy chanted.
I was confused! Who was Buddy? What was a ball?
Boy threw the round thing. My instincts took over and I ran to it. After all, I was a Labrador Retriever. Gingerly, I sniffed it and picked it up. I was starting to like this ball thingy! I ran to Boy who yanked it out of my mouth.
“Good boy, Buddy!” he praised.
Ohh, so I was Buddy. Now things were starting to make sense. This house would be my home for the rest of my life. No more rusty pen. I was going to enjoy it here.
After a few days, Jess still wouldn’t pet or talk to me. I was highly offended. What did I do wrong? Dad and Mom tried talking to her, but she wouldn’t listen. I knew if I wanted her to like me, I would have to prove myself worthy by doing something, but what would that something be?
That evening, Jess, Dad, Mom, and Boy (whose name I found out was Mason) took me to the lake. I meandered along the path going from Jess to Mason. Finally, we sat on a bench on the shore of the lake. Jess kicked a stick into the lake. My instincts took over and I leaped into the lake to get the stick. A few minutes later, I came back soaked and wet, the stick in my mouth. I proudly dropped it at Jess’s feet and expected her to finally like me. Contrary to my prediction, she scowled and pushed me away while holding her nose. Sorrowfully, I walked away and went to Mason.
“Jess!” Mason exclaimed, “Buddy just dove into a freezing cold lake and retrieved you a stick, be thankful,” he scolded.
“He’s just a stupid dog,” Jess muttered and trudged away.
Mom, Dad, and Mason looked at each other and sighed.
It seemed like I would have to do something other than retrieve a stick from a lake to get Jess’s appreciation.
The next day, the house became empty except for the girl who went to her room and slept. Basically, I was stuck in the house on my own. The night before, I had learned that I had a “dog door.” There was a flap that I could walk right through! Then I would be outside and the fresh air would blast at me. I walked around the empty house sniffing here and there. It was strange with nobody home.
All of a sudden, I smelled something weird. Like a burning of heat. I was confused, but my instincts told me I had to get out. That’s when it started; black smoke poured into the kitchen. It stung my eyes as I struggled to find my “dog door.”
Safely, I ran out of the house. The girl! Even though she hadn’t been very nice to me, it was my job to be loyal and protect my owner no matter how much she liked me. What was I going to do? I was safe and alive. Sirens blared up the driveway as men in red suits ran in the house. I wanted to warn them not to go in.
Another man in a navy blue uniform patted my head and tried to comfort me. Nothing could help me especially since I knew my girl was in there! Nudging the man in the navy blue uniform, I started to bark and whimper.
“What’s the matter, boy?” he asked, concerned.
I pointed my nose in the direction of the house. Then, I ran to the house. A man in a red suit outside stopped me.
“Where are you going?” he asked.
I ran inside without looking back. The men followed me, unsure of what I was doing. I bolted to the stairs and was about to go up when one man said, “Hey, maybe someone is up there!” Soon, I was dressed in a suit thing and a mask on my face. I charged into the house again with the men in red suits close behind. I expected the smoke to sting my eyes but to my surprise, I was fine! I quickly led the way up the stairs into Jess’s room. Jess was crying on the bed. The men carried her downstairs into a white truck that drove her away. Where were they taking her? I barked and barked but it was useless. The men in red suits were still spraying the house with the hose.
Finally, I believed my girl was safe so I let my instincts take over and ran to the house. Playfully, I jumped around and chased the hose. I was soaked when a man in a suit dragged me away. After a few hours, the house stopped secreting gray air that stung my eyes and made them water. I was still high on alert, straining to see if there was any scent of Jess or her family. Suddenly, a women stood above me. She was Jess’s mom!
“Oh Buddy, you must be worried!” she cooed as she stroked my head.
Heck, I was worried sick!
“Let’s go, we’re gonna go visit Jess!” She swept me in and stuck me in her machine.
A few minutes later, which seemed like an eon, I walked into a white building that smelled clean — too clean! I was tempted to release waste all over the place. I quickly trotted behind Jess’s mom into a room. Jess was lying on the bed, sleeping. Seeing her there reassured me, and I went over and licked her. A second later, Jess’s eyes shot open and she screamed.
“What is that dog doing here!”
Startled, I jumped back.
“Relax, honey, Buddy is just trying to say hi,” Mom’s voice calmed her.
“And, Jess, Buddy here saved your life,” Dad informed Jess.
“Oh really, huh? Like I can believe that,” she sourly announced.
“Well, believe what you want, but that dog saved your life,” Mason pointed at me.
I felt proud and dejected at the same time. I had worked so hard to help Jess and now she didn’t even believing that I had saved her life! To think that I thought Jess would like me after she was told that I saved her life.
A few days later, everything was back to normal. Neighbors still came over with disgusting homemade dog treats for me, which I buried in the backyard for when I was desperate for food. On this particular day, I decided to go wait for Jess at the bus stop because one of the neighbors had dropped off another batch of despicable dog treats, and I was starting to get tired of making holes in the yard to bury them in. I trotted to the bus stop and sat there ignoring the twitch of squirrels in the grass and focusing on the gasoline scent of the bus. After a century, the bus screeched to a stop in front of my face. Jess came off, followed by some blonde girls who were none other than Mia, Katy, Amanda, Sophie, and Summer. They were the popular girls Jess had always longed to be friends with. The ones she ranted about 24/7 and the ones that glared at her.
“So, Jess, I heard your dog is a life saver,” Amanda, the queen bee, motioned towards me.
It was like everything from then on was a movie. I couldn’t wait to hear Jess’s response.
“Uhhh, yeah, he saved me from a fire,” she replied.
I couldn’t believe it. First she was saying that she didn’t believe I saved her life. Then I knew, she was doing it for popularity. She was using me! Before I could decide whether I was proud or mad, Amanda said something very interesting.
“So, you wanna come to my house tonight, we can have a sleepover with Mia, Katy, Sophie, and Summer?” Amanda coolly asked. “Oh, and bring your awesome dog! I have a Yellow lab named Marley.” She sashayed away with her group following her, gushing and chattering. Before I could react, Jess was halfway down the path and I bolted to catch her.
Out of breath, Jess rushed in with the good news, me tagging behind her.
“Mom, dad!” she panted, “I was invited to a sleep over at Amanda’s!” she finished.
“Woah, hold on,” Dad said.
“Amanda Williams, the one who is the big popular one?” Mom raised her eyebrows.
“Yes, Amanda Williams and her friends have invited me with Buddy to her house for a sleepover,” Jess boasted.
“Buddy!?” Mom and Dad yelled.
Say what? Did Jess just bail me out and tell them that I did my business in her mom’s flower garden? Which I did, by the way.
“Yes, and Amanda has a yellow lab named Marley,” she reassured them.
Jess explained the whole story from beginning to end. When she was finished, everybody was gaping. I knew everyone was happy for her, not only because they reeked of the scent of cupcakes, but the fact that they were all smiling.
“Of course you can go!” Dad proclaimed.
“We are so happy for you!” Mom stated the obvious.
That night, Jess packed her bag and got into the machine. I bounded in behind her, and we were off. In what seemed like a month, we were finally there. Amanda’s house was HUGE. We stepped out of the machine and ran up the front path. Jess excitedly rang the doorbell and waited. Amanda answered the door with a smile on her face. Hmm, I thought I smelled a scent on her, an unusual scent, scared? Sad? Then it hit me, it was nervous. What was Amanda so nervous about?
As I sat down, all the girls started to pet me. I wasn’t so sure I cared that Jess used me anymore. I had never gotten this much attention in my whole life.
“Nice PJs,” Amanda complimented sarcastically to Jess.
Jess didn’t hear any sarcasm and glanced down at her dog pjs. I always thought they were cute.
“Thanks,” Jess gushed.
I watched as Amanda rolled her eyes at Mia secretly.
“Let’s paint our nails,” Katy suggested, breaking the silence.
Soon, the girls took out bottles of stuff and slathered it on their nails. The scent almost ruined my nose!
“I’m gonna go use the bathroom,” Jess got up and left the room, closing the door behind her.
“Girls!” Amanda whispered, “Let’s play a prank on that loser!”
Prank? Prank? Wait a minute, I trotted over to get a better listen.
“Oooh, let’s put itching powder in her sleeping bag!” Sophie jumped up.
“I brought some just in case,” Summer held up a can.
“WHAT?” All the others girls turned to face her.
“What?” Summer repeated, wanting to squirm out of the question.
“Perfect,” Amanda agreed.
Just in time, Jess came in.
“So, it’s lights out time!” Amanda cheerfully said, “you go brush your teeth first,” she told Jess.
I nudged Jess as if to say, No! Oblivious to my clues, she went into the bathroom again.
I watched as the girls hatched their plan. They moved fast, dumping bits of Itching Powder in Jess’s sleeping bag. I whimpered and whimpered, but the girls ignored me. Just mean. At last, Jess came in and everybody acted normal. Jess got into her sleeping bag. Then, the itching started.
“Uh, I think I might have gotten a rash,” Jess nervously announced.
“EWWW,” all the girls screamed.
“Go home,” Amanda advised.
Crying, Jess pulled out her phone and called her mom. A few minutes later, she pulled up. Amanda’s mom comfortingly assisted Jess outside. Once in the car, Jess started to cry again.
“I-I-I got a r-r-rash,” Jess cried, “and then the other girls started to glare at me and Amanda told me to go home,” Jess finished.
Jess sat there in silence as we pulled into the long gray path in front of the house that a machine always parked on. When we got inside, Jess’s mom started to wash her sleeping bag; Jess’s mom was a neat freak.
“Wait a minute! Jess, is there powder, itching powder, in your sleeping bag?” Jess’s mom asked suspiciously.
“Wha-a-t?” Jess sniffled.
“Jess, I think those girls played a cruel trick on you, they did the classic putting-itching powder-in-sleeping bag trick,” Jess’s mom frowned.
“Huh, maybe that’s why Buddy nudged me, he knew all along they would play a prank on me!” If Jess was in a comic, there would be a yellow lightbulb above her head.
“Now I know, those girls aren’t my true friends, Buddy is,” Jess ran up and hugged me.
“I’m so sorry I rejected you, you’re the best dog I ever had,” she almost suffocated me.
Now, many years later, I am still Jess’s best friend. As I shift my position, I accidentally drop Robert, my monkey, on the green, lush grass. Whimpering, I try to jump onto the patch of green but fail. Seeing me, Jess drops her book. Grunting, she gently lifts me onto the grass. I am grateful to her. It is hard to believe that a few years ago, she disliked me and pushed me away. Jess has changed a lot, and so have I. Jess used to be a carefree little girl. Today, she is a high schooler applying for what is called “College.” She will be leaving me soon and I will soon be leaving her. I wonder if she still remembered that phase when she rejected me. Leaning over, I gaze at Jess absorbed in her book, and she starts to stroke my head. Even though dogs hate it when humans pat them on the head, I lie still next to her without protest. Closing my eyes, I let the warm sun swallow me.