When I was in the fifth grade, I decided that I wanted a new dog. We already had a dog, a poodle, but I wanted another dog, one that I could run and play with. So, my parents decided to travel with me to the Denver Dumb Friends League, so that we could look at dogs. I was looking for a bigger dog (bigger than a poddle at least), because all the dogs I ever had were poodles.

We looked around at the various dogs, and saw some pretty strange ones. The one that sticks out the most in my mind was an Italian Greyhound, which looked like a miniature greyhound with stilt-like legs. Eventually, however, I found a dog that I liked. At the Denver Dumb Friends League, when you find a dog that you like, you sit in a room and they bring it in. This particular dog was about three months old, and she was very excited, jumping around, and whining. She was jumping all over, and so I told her to sit, and she actually did!

We decided to take her, and were able to pick her up the next day after she had been spayed. After we took her home, she slept in my room, and we did almost everything together. At that time, I lived on a four acre lot in Conifer, Colorado, that was backed by a national forest. That dog and I ran all around the woods. She would sometimes run around, but she would always stay with me. Once, we tracked an elk together for almost 5 hours. She stayed with me always.

By the time that I was about to enter High School, my parents decided to move (again). The house that they had chosen was down in the city (what people who live up in Conifer and Evergreen call Denver and its suburbs). This would be a big change. But, we adjusted. There was still a basement for her to stay in, so it wouldn't be problem. By this time, the other dog (the poodle), had died, and we had gotten a pug puppy. We couldn't run around together anymore, but we were still fairly happy.

We lived at this house for about 2 1/2 years, before my parents decided to move again. This time, however, we moved to a condominium complex. This was a far more substantial change. Now, while we were away, the dogs were forced to stay in my bathroom. This didn't work out. They begain to tear away at the floor, ripping up the tile and scratching at the cement under it. Not only that, but on a trip back from the kennel, she had diarrhea. In my car. All over my car, actually. It was one of the most disgusting events of my life. And, again, a few months later, she had diarrhea again. The tile on my floor was almost totally gone, and the door was scratched terribly. So, my parents began to search for a new home for my dog, Sassafrass.

They tried taking her to a place back up in Evergreen, where she would hopefully be adopted by a family with a big yard, so that she could run again. But, no one was interested. They tried again, a few weeks later. This time, they were successful.

I was in the shower, feeling fairly poorly because of a cold that I had. My mom told me that my dad was on the phone, and that he had "found a new home for Sassy."

"Oh," I said. "Is he going to bring her back down tonight?"

"No. He said that the people brought another dog with them to make sure that they would get along, and they got along fine."

"Ok."

She closed the door, and I stood there. I felt stunned, like someone had kicked me. I had wanted to find her a home, I knew as well as anyone that it couldn't work. She was unhappy, and barked all day. Still, I didn't want to give her away. I just stood there. I started crying. I thought back to my plan to take her and go running by my old house again. I thought about everything that we had done together. It all seemed ridiculously cliche, but I cried anyway. A 17 year old boy, crying, I felt ridiculous. It felt like we had given away part of my childhood.

I got out of the shower, composed myself, and shaved. I had something to eat, took some medicine, and went to my room to continue working on my college applications.

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