My Big Bear

by Paula
(Houston, Texas)

When I was in eighth grade, my parents thought we were moving, and so they bought my brother and I a dog, Sirius. My mom and dad were reluctant to get a pet, but it wasn't long before they couldn't imagine their lives without him. That's how everyone was with Sirius--anyone who ever met him couldn't help but fall in love. He was so full of life, and so joyous in his love.

I remember when my mom and I took him to training at the shelter just after we got him, and we were teaching him how to "stay" and "come." And he never could quite get the hang of "stay," but I wouldn't even be able to finish calling out his name before he had already bounded towards me, top speed, and skidded to a stop at my feet, and looked up at me with those big brown eyes. That was Sirius.

He was the happiest, most vibrant thing I knew in all of the world, and when he looked at me, he looked at me like I was the sun.

Sirius spent eight years of his life with us, through my mother's cancer, through a move, and through all the little wonderful things that make up life.

Sirius died last week from a bad reaction to a vaccination. He had just had a check up, and at 9 and a half, he was the healthiest he'd ever been. And then he wasn't, and two days later, he died early in the morning. He died the way he had lived, in my mother's arms. That was my Sirius.

It's the quiet things I miss most about Sirius. I miss seeing the end of his bushy tail swishing out from under the table at dinner. I miss how when nobody was home I would sit in front of the couch and pat the floor, and wherever he was he would come and sit right next to me. He would look at me, and then lean his head into my shoulder, and we would just sit, and I would tell him how we were best of friends.

I miss the way he would stop tugging at his play towel or playing with his toys and let me put my arms around his neck and hug him tight, because he was my Big Bear. I miss how in the evenings he used to edge right up to our family room window, and watch the boy and his new puppy playing in the yard across the street. He could watch them for hours, as if nothing could bring more happiness to the world than a best friend. I loved him for how he looked at that boy, like he was the sun.

Oh my Big Bear, my Sirius, my Sirius. I'm so sorry you didn't have more time; I'm so so sorry that you suffered. I'm so sorry that you can't be with me now, with your nose on my shoulder or your head in my arms. I pray you went to Heaven, Little One, but somehow I can't see it. I can't see that you would ever be more happy, in this world or in any other, than you were when you were with us. And we are here, and you are not.

But maybe Heaven isn't like a place, and maybe it has no sense of time. So today and years from now and even before you and I were born, I am always there and you are always there, and you have always been my Sirius, my Big Bear.

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