short story

A Good Boy - A Story About Loss

A few years ago, I moved into a modest three-bedroom in Toluca Lake, California.  In addition to moving in with two other guys, I had the joy of having two bonus roommates, a cat and a dog.  The cat was, as was to be expected, a little stand-offish but the dog was the sweetest Boxer you’ve ever met.  His name was Achilles and he was a good boy.

He never barked, and he’d do this thing where if you were sitting on the couch (or literally anywhere), he’d stare at you with big puppy dog eyes, waiting for you to pet him.  If you didn’t figure it out quickly enough, he’d just lay his head on your lap until you figured it out. If you were standing, he’d lean against you. He was willing to meet you halfway; he was a good boy.

I remember how he would do little tricks like sitting and getting up on his hind legs to get a treat.  And I remember the day he stopped being able to stand on his hind legs.  I called him into the kitchen to give him a treat and said, “Up,” thumping my chest, signaling him to stand.  His body compressed like a spring, but instead of standing he yelped.  It hurt him to put that much weight on his hind legs.  He’d never do that trick again, but he was still a good boy.

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