Barkley was my first dog. After years of begging my parents, a friend's dog had puppies and we were smitten by him. I was 11 years old when we brought him home. He quickly became my best friend, and the two of us spent alot of time together, going for walks, rough housing, napping and when I learned to drive going out for ice cream runs. After I went away to college, he was the thing I looked forward to coming home too, and leaving was always so hard as he watched me go from the window.

The last time I came home, after a few days we knew something was not right. The doctors told us that there was a growth on his spleen, causing internal bleeding. We took him home where he seemed to get better only to get worse a couple of days later. My parents were out of town for the day so I drove to different vets in order to get an ultrasound so that we could make a decision. As it was New Years Eve, I spent 4 hours driving with him fading in the back seat until I got the answer I needed, he had cancer all over his body. I took him home where I sat in the car with him for another hour until my parents came home and we carried him inside. I had to work so I left and he passed soon after I was gone in the arms of my parents.

While I am so glad I was home and had those 5 hours to say goodbye, I still miss him so much. He knew he was loved and he died in the arms of those who cared about him but there is a huge hole that remains. I'm scared about returning home, knowing that he isn't going to be in that window waiting for me. He was a month away from being 10, and hours from making into the New Year.

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