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The loneliest dog

By J.A. HaglFebruary 16, 2017

Shih Tzu
Shih Tzu

Most days, Milky spends his day staring out of the glass door of his owner’s home, into the rolling lawn that the children play on. He doesn’t really move or eat. He rarely makes noise. The fact of the matter is that Milky doesn’t do much of anything these days.

It wasn’t always that way.  A white Shih Tzu, Milky came with a black and white Shih Tzu named Cookie — a puppy for each eager child unwilling to share a pet. But like most children, wanting a pet was a passing whim. Milky and Cookie had each other, though. Milky was the quieter of the two. Cookie saw every open door as an opportunity for a mad break and without much thought, Milky would follow.  

For a year, they were inseparable. Their duo expanded into a small kennel when two mixed terriers moved into the home they shared. Sam and her puppy Lexi were staying for a few months— a long-term pet-sitting gig. Quiet, older and tired from her years on the street, Sam kept mainly to herself, except when tending to her hyperactive puppy.

Lexi, Milky, and Cookie spent hours jumping from white leather couch to another white leather couch. If an opportunity arose, they made a dash out the door to run up and down the hilly shaded streets for their afternoon pleasure. Spent from the day’s activities, they would all cuddle in a large sheepskin bed until they would fall asleep.

As most families with children are prone to do, they went away for a quick vacation. The dogs were left in the hands of a grandfather. He kept their daily custom of an evening walk. One unfortunate evening, Cookie, as he was prone to do, felt the slack in the leash. Just as the sun set, he broke free. Lexi and Milky pulled against the leash, wanting to follow their fearless leader.

“Cookie. Cookie,” the grandfather yelled as searched frantically for his granddaughter’s dog. The sun had set and Cookie had disappeared into the night. Fliers decorated the streets and shelters were checked. Sam, Lexi, and Snow returned sans Cookie to the children.  

Like every sibling who wants what the other has, she demanded a replacement dog. Her grandmother gifted her with her own dog Snow. It was a temporary situation, for everyone had been waiting for Snow to pass away. She had lived for 16 years, survived cancer and she was blind. Nevertheless, she joined Lexi, Sam, and Milky.

Just in the nick of time, for Milky’s sake. Lexi and Sam were returning home and the children had even less time to spend with their dogs with the start of the school year.

Snow couldn’t run or walk very well, let alone jump from couch to couch. Milky would split his time jumping from couch to couch and sitting close to Snow. Eventually, the fun of jumping on furniture alone wore off.

Milky began sitting at the door of the children’s room, eager of a quick pet and just maybe a belly rub. On occasion, he would get a quick pet, but most days he was told to move out of the way of the busy children.

He became content with simply sitting next to Snow, as she would take long, wheezing breaths. One day, Snow took her last breath. Milky was alone.

He had lost four companions in the course of a year. There wasn’t much left for him to do. He had what seemed to be a long life without any companionship or attention. So all that he could do, was reminisce of what was.