My Best Friend
Madeline, Age 13, Purcellville, VA
“Guys,” my mom said, “we have a little bad news for you.”

As I wondered what it was, Sean asked, “What is it?”

I began to worry and my mom replied, “Sydney is extremely sick,”

I wanted to know what she was sick from but kept to myself. “With cancer,” she said. I couldn’t believe Sydney, my dog, was sick.

Days later, I was walking out to get the mail, and I noticed Sydney’s name engraved into the cement. I thought she was so tough before she got sick, like when she pulled her dog house across the yard. I wondered if she would ever regain her health, but it is pretty much gone! I could tell it was gone because every time she tried to stand up, she couldn’t.

Months passed, and the year ended. “Are you ready for your first day of preschool?” my mom asked as she got out Sydney’s food. I jumped up and down as I nodded my head.

“Okay, let me feed the dog before we go,” she said as she poured one and a half cups of food into the bowl labelled “Sydney.”

When she was done pouring in the millions of little pieces of food, she added something else, and I asked, “What are those things you are adding to Sydney’s food?”

She replied, “They are pills to help her feel a little better." I nodded my head again, saying I understood, and ran out the door in excitement for my first day of preschool.
Many more months passed, but Sydney only got weaker and weaker. Every day my parents would remind us to say goodbye because we never knew if she would be there when we came home.

One day I came home, slammed the car door shut, and ran inside. When I was inside, I didn’t even bother to shut the door behind me. When I was finally in the house, I yelled, “Sydney, Sydney, come here girl!” but she didn’t come. I thought maybe she didn’t hear me, so I tried again, but there was still no Sydney in sight.

In the process of walking through the laundry room door, I began to hear cries. I looked around and there was my mom sitting on the family room floor crying. I could tell something was wrong, but I didn’t know what. Tears began to build in my eyes.
“Mom, what’s wrong,” I asked. But she didn’t answer. When I looked at her face, I noticed it was red and it was covered in tears. After a couple minutes, my dad walked into the house, and I asked him if he knew what was wrong with Mom. He nodded his head.

“Sean, Madie, take a seat,” he said with tears forming in his eyes too. “We have some more dreadful news for you two. While you guys were at school today, Sydney died.”  It was only about a minute before we were all in tears. Even with a new dog, it hasn’t been the same.

After many years buzzed by, my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. I knew this whole process would start again when my dad sat us down and said, “Sean, Madie, Emily, we just found out today. Grandpa is sick, just like Sydney was, with cancer." At that moment everything happened again.

In Sydney’s honour we planted a tree and buried her beneath it. We call it “Sydney’s Tree.” This is our way of remembering Sydney, but we remember my grandfather by making and eating fish.
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