Age 7

My dad had brought home a dog!  He said he found it at the dump.  He was a scruffy looking thing, but I fell in love with him immediately.  To me he was soft and cuddly and brought me a sense of warmth and longing I had never had.  His hair was different colors but mainly light brown.  I loved him!  I saw something in his eyes that I had never felt before.  I was trembling while I held him.  I didn’t ask if we were keeping him because dad had brought him home.  Finally, something I could love.  My lonely heart was not as lonely anymore!  I had a friend, I had a companion.  Even though my young mind couldn’t explain my feelings, I had never felt better.  My older brothers didn’t like me.  Dad didn’t seem to like me and neither did mom.  I was so afraid all the time that there was something so wrong with me.  Something so ugly and terrible that my voice would not speak of it.

I lived in my room and under my bed.  I found out how to get a light under there so that I could see in the dark.  I remember one time being so cramped under the bed that the light got too close to my arm and burned it.  I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want anyone to know where I was hiding!  I suffered in silence. I don’t remember mom talking to me.  I remember my brothers being mean to me or ignoring me.  And dad was there sometimes but usually out in the garage or in the basement with his “stuff”

So, when Scrappy came home I was overjoyed.  Now, I didn’t jump and shout like many kids do when they see all of their Christmas presents.  I just held out my arms and took this dog into my heart!  I never heard any one else talk of this new dog in our house.  My brothers didn’t seem excited but then we were not a family to show our excitement.  I had learned at this point in my life that nothing is for sure.  Most things of mine were destroyed by my brother Curt.  He had a way with wrecking the things that were given to me.  One Christmas I got a stuffed Snoopy Dog and I was thrilled.  To me it was my best present ever.  But Snoopy didn’t last a day.  Curt had broken his neck and he was no longer a strong proud dog, but a weak and grieving dog with his head down all the time. I still remember Curt taking Snoopy into his hands and putting them around his neck.  He squeezed and twisted it until poor Snoopy could no longer hold up his head.  I was screaming at him to stop!  I was pleading with everything in me to stop breaking the best present I had ever gotten.  My heart was racing, and my breathing got fast.  My voice was loud, or I thought so to me.  Because he didn’t stop I wonder if the screaming was just in my head.  It could have been.  After all I had screamed before and nobody took notice.

So, one very happy day I came in from playing outside to look for Scrappy but couldn’t find him.  I looked in every room and then ventured downstairs to look for him.  It seemed like hours that I was looking because I was certain he was there and had just gotten lost.  I remember finally saying to my brothers, “where’s Scrappy?”  They laughed at me.  I wasn’t sure how to interpret this.  What kind of trick were they playing????  Then they told me he was dead.  I still looked everywhere for him and could not find him.  I thought if he was dead or maybe he was just injured I could help. Later, I remembered hearing the words, “we got rid of him”.  I collapsed on the inside.  I was in shock walking to my room.  I went under the bed to think but could not grasp why they got rid of him and what that meant.  I knew; I was being punished again. And this time something that had given me a sense of hope had been ripped from my young arms.  No goodbyes, no last chance to touch him and cuddle with him.  He was gone; and I was more broken than ever.

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