Waiting For Me
by Brooke Upchurch
One morning a dog wandered into our yard, she was starving and missing fur. In 1985 I was four years old, and had a love for animals even then.
I ran into the house and found dog food that had been left from a dog my father had that went missing. I fed her and played with her all day. I remember my dad coming home and saying that it looked like someone had thrown boiling water on her, and that was why patches of fur were missing.
I begged to keep her. I guess they let me, assuming that she would wander away just like she came. Not a prayer. I named her Nancy.
Dad got her a dog house and she gained weight. I spent my childhood with her. I have hardly any memories of growing up without her in them. As the years went by she turned gray in the face and moved slower. I began to think that she might not be around forever when I was 13. By then she was 11 (we had guessed at her age when we found her to be about two).
I went to high school and she was there to send me off every morning and to greet me every afternoon at the bus. My dad began telling me at 16 to spend as much time with her as I could because she was really getting old. I tried but I was young and busy once I got my drivers license.
Still, she was always there. I graduated and she was still with me. I was 18. I used to joke that she would live forever. Then one afternoon in November my dad came in and said that Nancy was laying in the yard and couldn't get up.
The tears came so fast! The moment I had been dreading had come. I carried her to the basement and laid her in front of the fireplace. For a week we stayed down there. I fed her from a spoon till she didn't want to eat anymore. I carried her outside to do her business and stroked her head as she lay beside me.
After many days of this I had to get out for a while because I felt the grief was killing me. I went to spend time with my boyfriend and fell asleep for the night. The next morning when I got home, my dad had already buried her.
I missed her final moments and regret it to this day. In our back yard is a simple stone that says Nancy 1983-1999. She is waiting at the Rainbow Bridge for me.
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