“A boy and his dog.” That’s the line isn’t it? That’s what everyone always says, “There’s nothing like a boy and his dog.” They’re not wrong. There is nothing like it. He was a puppy when I first met him. His body was too big for his little legs. He used to fall over when he ran. It made my father laugh. I loved that dog for that. He was my friend. I grew and he grew with me. He loved me through all my awkward years. He loved me through every good day. He loved me through every bad day. He ran beside me through the woods. Long mornings when the hills made my calves burn and my lungs felt like they would explode. He stayed right by my side. Even as he got old he made himself keep up.
Dogs just seem to know things without us ever having to tell them anything at all. The night she broke my heart he just knew. I didn’t want to talk. I just wanted to be alone. That’s the thing about a boy and his dog. When your best friend is a dog you can be alone together. His big black paw rested on my knee and we just sat there. Alone. But not so alone.
I buried him beside the big tree that we ran past in the hills. He always seemed to like that spot. I took my friend and placed him in the ground. I ripped out a piece of myself and laid it in the hole with him.
I don’t run in the hills anymore.