Dan Holden's Creative Writing
Little Jet was with our family for just a few weeks. Christina and I picked him up at the shelter one day while Emmie and Angie were still in school. We did it on a whim really. If I were really honest, I would say that we did it because I was feeling down about losing the ranch and thought we needed something to keep our spirits up.
He was a quiet and well-behaved looking little guy, not yappy or prone to biting. He had a large Chihuahua build but longish jet-black hair, a furry tail and big fuzzy years, almost as big as his head. In other words he was totally cute.
He was a bit shy at first but took to the girls instantly. That’s the thing about puppies as opposed to cats or horses; they show love unconditionally and uncontrollably. They just wildly, insanely love you. Jet was like that.
Jet loved to tease the girls and the cats into chasing him. His favorite game was catch-me-if-you-can. Nobody could, of course. He was a little black ball of energy in the thick grassy back yard, and it was hilarious to watch him run around.
Also unlike cats, you could take him anywhere. With the fair weather we’ve had lately, he would sleep patiently while we went into a store. But he whined his tiny little whine from the passenger-side window when Christina went to school, and he always curled up for comfort in my lap after we drove away.
Jet was the perfect little dog, but we didn’t get a chance to train him. He didn’t come when you asked him to, nor would he walk well under leash.
He slipped out of his collar and leash, and away from my youngest daughter earlier today. In good spirits, he ran up the driveway and into the street just as a car drove by. Angie ran to the door and yelled for Emmie to come out. A moment later Emmie ran back in, crying loudly, to tell me through tears that Jet had been hit by a car. As I ran out the door and up the driveway I met little Angie with Jet in her arms. I was upset with her for taking him off the road, but quickly got to the business of crating him and getting him to an emergency hospital.
On our way I called their older sister Christina, who had been working with the horse trainer all day. She cried hysterically when she learned what had happened, but did not insist on coming along. She stayed with the horse trainer this evening.
Later, at the hospital, Emmie and Angie said their tearful goodbyes to Jet. Christina said an emotional goodbye through the cell phone. When it was my turn, I gently rubbed his little head and told him he was a good boy. He looked at me pleadingly and in pain. I wished I could have made him better, but there was nothing I could do. Such a good boy, it was hard to walk away. My lips trembled and I turned away when the doctor looked at us.
A few minutes after that, the nurse came out to the reception room and handed the boxed up little puppy to Emmy. She bravely carried the box to the van; I could tell she felt a mournful pride in the task.
I couldn’t help but break down into tears before we left the parking lot. He was such a good and loving little guy, and if that’s all a little puppy ever does in his life, it’s surely enough. He made a deep and lasting impression on all of my girls. And on me.
The little girls asked me all kinds of questions on the way home. Will he move in the box? Where did his soul go? If his soul is gone, does he still have fur? Does he still have a face? Can we see him before we bury him? Do dogs go to the same heaven people go to?
Sometimes I question the existence of God but the death of a pet is not the time to have that conversation. Jet is in heaven, with my beautiful old Malamute from years back, Sierra Bonita, to keep her company. We will see them too, but not for many, many years.
God, I said, would not separate us from those we love forever. And anyway, they live in our hearts for as long as we keep them there.
The girls cried several times this evening thinking about him. He will be remembered, and mourned, for a long time, as all loving little pets are.
Precious little Jet. Good boy, good boy.