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The Day Toby Left
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By Gia Hansen

I will remember this day forever. It is glued to my head and it will stay there for eternity. This summer is one I will never forget. I was had fun with friends, family, and my favorite dog, Toby.
My 8 month old Scottish Terrier was a stubborn little puppy. I managed to teach him how to sit and lie down. One of my many accomplishments! I dearly loved my dog, even if he sometimes disagreed me.
We were having lots of fun taking care of Toby. Taking him on walks, letting him out, refilling his food and water, and grooming him. I knew we were going to have a good relationship with each other.
One day, I couldn't find Toby in the house at all. I looked in every room and in every corner, but I still couldn't find him at all. I asked my brother and sister, but they hadn't seen him either. I was starting to get worried. What if he ran away? I thought. I checked in the front yard and there was no sign of him there. I ran out back and screamed at the sight I saw.
A furry creature was struggling in the pool. He was fighting with the water and he wasn't succeeding. My face turned white and I wanted to do something, but I couldn't. I was paralyzed. I couldn't even make a sound. I felt so stupid standing there not taking action.
I forced myself to move towards him. What could I do? He was drowning! Without thinking I jumped into the pool and stretched my hands out to get him. You see, Scottish Terriers are built like bricks. They have short legs and short arms and swimming was like opening a door to death.
Toby had never experienced water. I never let him outside without my supervision. There is a fence around the pool, but I'm pretty sure that he found a kink in it. I wonder how I got off guard! One second he was there and the next he's not.
I came out of my thoughts and back to reality. I heaved him out of the water and called out, "Guys! Come help!" My brother and sister came running out and gasped at the sight. Mom and Dad were at work and we were pretty much home alone.
Everything happened in such a rush. First, I didn't know what to do. Toby was breathing hoarsely. He stared into nothingness. Too much water was in his lungs. We lifted him onto a rag and dragged him inside the house into the living room. My brother and sister were in tears and that didn't help much, but I held mine down.
I told myself that Toby wasn't going to die, but we all knew it could happen. I stroked my dog's curly hair. "It's gonna be okay," I whispered. Blood starting trickling out of his mouth. We watched him in silence as he took small puffs of breaths. I spoke words of reassurance to my siblings, but they were crying to loud to hear.
I looked down straight into Toby's eyes and it was as if he was saying, "Goodbye."
Seconds later, Toby took his final breath. Then, he left the world. The tears I had been holding in sprung to my eyes and I cried in front of everyone.
Later, when I took a good long look at Toby, I realized that he looked so peaceful. I stroked his head and sniffled, "Good night, Toby." I remembered telling myself that Toby was just asleep and he would wake up the next morning happy and alive. Deep in my heart though, I knew he was in a better place. Free as a dog can be and I know that he finally rests in peace.





Brian Falkner Books