Amazing Kids! Magazine

The Time My Dog Left

By Macy Monte


I had a beautiful chocolate lab named Gingerbread Girl Monte, though everyone called her Ginger, beloved Ginger. She was beautiful, and she came camping with us. Ginger was my parents’ first “baby,” so when I came to life, she was there.

Her hairs on her face were graying, and her legs were weakening. And she got sick, very sick. But then she got better, and happy tears would trickle down our cheeks. Then, after she’d turned 13, she left us. This is that story.

Ah, the day before Thanksgiving. But no turkeys, cranberry sauce, or pies filled our brains. Sadness, saying good-bye, and Heaven took their place. We all knew our Ginger had to leave.

Heaven. A place many people have seen, though none able to tell a living soul. But what if it doesn’t exist to dogs? What if she lives multiple lives? What if she already has? No one will ever know. Or at least be able to tell a living soul.

My mom had made cakes. Not with cake batter, though. A cake that was flat, circle-shaped, and had Ginger’s paw print engraved in it. Even Ginger’s nail was there. Mom had placed jars of paint in a semi-circle arrangement on our dining room table. Browns, reds, greens, oranges, blues, and many more. So we sat there and let our brushes swirl in the colors and slather them on the cakes. (Mom had to paint over Matthew’s with brown and orange. Matthew requested she do it.) Mine was red and green. Christmas colors, now my favorite holiday. When we were all done, we waited for Madison. It took her forever, though it turned out to be the best one. Then it was time to say good-bye.

She lay on the ground, wondering why everyone was making such a big deal about a car trip. We were clinging to her, petting her, kissing her. When our tears rolled down our red cheeks, she licked them up like they were a tangy pear. We all saw her white and gray hairs on her face, like a younger version of Santa. Her back legs were bent at an odd angle, one that caused her pain. And then dad lifted her and brought her to the van after our good-byes. And Mom scurried after Dad and Ginger. And then they were gone. I’d never see Ginger again.

We popped in the disc to Inside Out and watched it glumly. I cried the whole time. When I finally stopped crying, I thought of her and burst into tears again. Just a vague thought of her burst me to tears. It still does. Then Mom and Dad came home. Both were in tears, and both smothered us with hugs and kisses. We just stood there, all six of us, but we didn’t feel whole. A part of us was gone. The seventh was gone.

Ginger wasn’t our first pet. We had two cats, Eppy and Fluffy. Fluffy was a boy, and he was extremely fluffy. He would come into my room at night and roll around on the floor. I would giggle, then full burst laugh when I saw his fur poof up like a pufferfish. Then he’d prance over and seemingly float up to my bed. His tail would tickle my nose, and I would sneeze up stray furs.

Eppy was a girl and was very shy and timid. She had short, black fur and penetrating eyes. She would only come out to see Madison, Mom, and Dad. The boys always scared her to death, so Eppy apparently expected the same from me. She and Fluffy would troop up the stairs like a two-man army to get to our rooms on the third floor. Then Fluffy and Eppy would turn the corner to my room. Fluffy would scamper up to my bed and soar up while Eppy scavenged through the jungle of my room. When she reached the end, Madi’s door stood ajar, and she leapt through to her room. She strolled through the neat-as-a-pin room that belonged to my sister and stepped right into Madi’s arms. They boosted her up to her bed, and they snuggled together.

But we had to donate them to a shelter when the boys came along. We were all so happy when the cats were here, then so mad and sad when they were gone. Pets don’t last forever. But their memories do.

It’s always so hard to say good-bye. When you know you’ll never see them again, it makes it 10 times harder. But everyone has to say good-bye. When you are leaving a state or leaving a relative’s house, it’s hard. But knowing you’ll never see them again, it makes you want to stay forever.

I still remember Ginger. But just dim memories. Her fur, scent, and look are slowly blurring away, disappearing. So I made a shrine. I placed four drawings, flowers, a photo, her collar, the painted cake, and a small cardboard puppy in my room.

I’m going to tell a story about a little girl who had to say good-bye. It starts like this: I had a beautiful chocolate lab…