Dreams Can Come True by Tyler

I heard my heart pounding as I slowly walked up the stairs dragging my feet along each cold, hard step one by one. On the way to my bedroom, I began to replay the words of my father that ruined my hope for a good 9th birthday.

You can hardly take care of yourself, what makes you think that you can take care of animal?  There are more reasons beyond that sweetie, reasons you would just never understand at your age. A dog is just not an option for us this year, your mother and I are sorry. I was the type of person who didn’t ask for much unless it was Christmas or my birthday.  So once my birthday came around, I finally got the courage to ask my parents for what I had been dreaming about ever since I was a little girl. A puppy. I fell in love with the idea of having a puppy one rainy, spring day when I was 6 years old. My mommy needed to stop at the grocery store on the way home from picking me up from school so I tagged along with her. As we got out of the car, I noticed something moving behind a tree near the store. Out of curiosity, I ran to the tree with my navy rain boots squeaking after me each step of the way. I heard my mom yelling after me telling me to come back but I did not listen. I slowly approached the tree and saw a dog all alone rolling around in the grass. My first instinct was to call my mom over to me to come look. As she ran to where I was, I yelled out to her and said,

“Mommy! Look! It’s a dog all alone out in the rain. Can we take her home? Please?,”

She explained to me that a dog that was all alone like this was called a stray dog. She didn’t want to take the dog back to our house and post signs around the area because there was no guarantee that the owner of this small Chihuahua would call. Instead, my mom wanted to make sure the dog was healthy and then drop it dog off at a dog shelter. As we rode in the car to get to the vet, the puppy laid in my lap. Her tiny brown paws rested on the seat while her head was rested on my soggy pants that the rain soaked up. I stroked her smooth, thin fur during the whole car ride. That was the first time I had ever held a dog in my entire life. I temporarily named her Lacy so we could give the vet a name. It was in that very moment when I realized that I wanted my own dog to take care of. Even though I just met that dog and I didn’t know the story behind it, I believed it was a sign that I should get a dog. 3 years has passed since I first met Lacy and I still haven’t forgotten about her.

Once I open the door to my room, I walk in and rush to the window. I turned my head to the park that was next to my house and see people walking their dogs. Individuals were always walking their dogs and it never seemed to bother me until I knew it would never be me. I then imagined that as my family. Our dog on a leash, leading the way, while my mom, my dad, and I are behind the puppy feeling laughing at her every move. I soon hear a knock on my door and quickly shut my dusty blinds and snap back into reality. My door cracks open and my father’s head peeks through,

“I want to let you know that I’ll be out of town today and Sunday, but I will be back just in time for your birthday on Monday. Come give me a hug before I go,” He said as if he was trying to sound as if we did not just have a conversation about him ruining my birthday. My dad travels a lot for his job so I am hoping he doesn’t get caught up in his work and forget my birthday. It was bad enough that I wasn’t getting my dream dog, I didn’t want my dad to not be there. I run to him putting on a smile and give him a hug. I figured that being upset with my parents would not help my situation. Although I was upset, I was not going to let this define me. My mother once told me that it isn’t about how you act when you everything, but how you react when you have nothing.

The weekend went by pretty fast. My mom and I spent the whole day together on Sunday going shopping as an early birthday present. Once we got back to the house, I knew I was definitely not getting a dog. I was learning to be okay with that but I suddenly lost control. My feet had a mind of their own and rushed up the steps. I slammed the door shut quiet enough so that my mom wouldn’t hear, but strong enough that a picture on my wall fell down, blowing to an empty corner of my room. My eyes began to water and soon enough, I felt a tear drop down my hurt face. One came after another and I began to just let it all out instead of hiding it in. I felt a connection with Lacy. Although she was just a dog, I wanted to tell her everything. I never got that chance and now that I am not getting a dog, I never will. After drawing from an old coloring book to relax myself, I climbed into bed. Anxiety filled my stomach about how tomorrow was going to turn out. My thoughts soon faded into nothing and I felt my eyes shut slowly.

The next morning began with my mother bursting into my room singing happy birthday to me. My smile brightened as I became more and more awake. She handed me a tray of orange juice, bacon, and pancakes, my favorite. Everything looked amazing! Only one thing was missing-my father. I gave my mom a big hug and right before I was about to ask where my dad was, I heard singing from down the hall,

“Happy birthday to you…” my father began to sing.

“Daddy?” I asked shocked that he actually made it in time.

“Hi princess,” my dad started as his voice got closer and closer. As he walked into the room he chuckled and said, “You really don’t think I could’ve forgotten about your birthday, do you?”

“Of course not, daddy. Thank you so much.” I said trying to focus on the good and not the fact that I had no dog. I thought back to my weekend reminding myself that I will do just fine without a new puppy.

“Oh how could I forget,” my father began to quickly walk out of the door. “I found you something on the road trip home,” he said sounding eager.

My mom suddenly pulled out her video camera out of her blue jean pocket and I just sat on my bed looking confused. I was thinking that maybe he got me a key chain or something on his way home. My mom pointed the video camera towards the narrow door as my dad joyfully walked back into my bedroom. Once I got a glimpse of what my mom was filming, I felt my heart melt. I froze and thought back to the first time I saw Lacy.  Immediately, I pushed my breakfast aside and dove into the smooth carpet. A petite, unstable puppy was sniffing around the ground getting used to our new home. She had a brown tiny head that poked out of her soft, small black body. I was in shock- complete shock. I didn’t know what to ask my parents because so many questions filled up inside of my head. I tried to ask them something but nothing would come out of my mouth. When I landed next to my new puppy, she rolled on the ground expecting me to rub her stomach. She only looked about a few months old and I could already tell that she was so much different than Lacy. She was so much fuller of energy and surprisingly, I liked it. Nothing had ever felt so unreal in my entire life. After rubbing her stomach, I picked her up and gently held her in my arms. I couldn’t help but glance at my parents grinning faces and the video camera my mother was still holding. I glanced back down at my new puppy struggling to get out of my arms to discover more about the new world that stood in front of her. Before setting her down, I brought her close to me, whispered to her and said,

“I’m going to call you Charmaine and I will love you forever.”



A Big Way To Make Up for a Foolish Mistake by Jonah

The air was becoming brisk and the sun was setting over the horizon. It was a close game and tension and excitement was running high in the dugout. Strike one, strike two, strike three, and back out to the field we went. I had just gotten a new glove and I was really excited to use it before the game. So far in the game the stiffness of the glove didn’t affect me that much, I had made a couple of plays and I didn’t even really notice it.

This inning looked to be the same after I made an easy play, one out. The next batter takes a couple of pitches and eventually draws a walk, one out runner on first. The double play was in check and I was expecting the ball to come my way. Indeed the ball found its way to me but not in the form that I’d expected. A dinky little pop-up to my left. Since I’d been playing up the middle for a double play, I had to engage in a full sprint to try and get the ball. I tracked it down and I realized that it would be close so I’d have to dive. Meanwhile in all of this the runner on first was confused as to where he should be and everyone in the dugout, the coaches and the rowdy parents were screaming. I make my leap and in my perspective it looked like I was going to catch it and hopefully double the runner off at first. I took my eye off the ball for one little fraction of a second and I lost the ball. It hits my glove with a thud and because my glove was still stiff I couldn’t squeeze it well enough for me to hold on. The ball found its way out of my grasp and trickled away. I quickly got up and tossed the ball to first but it was too late, a missed opportunity that could’ve just cost my team the game. To say the least I was furious, I slapped my hand against my thigh and started kicking the dirt. A blown opportunity, nothing made me madder. My teammates and coaches tried to signal to me that it was okay and I didn’t need to worry about it and just make the next play, but I knew the stakes and I knew that that silly little mistake was unacceptable. I wanted revenge, to redeem myself at my next at bat. I kept that at bat on my mind while the next batter stepped to the plate. I was praying that my mistake wouldn’t lead to a run but it didn’t work. The next batter lined a single to the outfield and by the time the throw got in the cutoff man the runner had already trotted home and was on his way back to the dugout to celebrate with his teammates. Now I’m even more furious, but to our luck our pitcher struck out the next couple of batters and sent us back to the dugout to get ready to hit.

When I finally reach the dugout I throw my glove as hard as I can down at my bag and a quickly strap on my batting gloves, put on my helmet and get ready to hit. I study the tall lanky pitcher very closely as I’m taking my warm up swings because I need to get every advantage possible. I noticed he didn’t throw anything too overpowering and he didn’t throw too slow to the point where my timing would be messed up. We both knew what was on the line and neither of us wanted to mess it up for our team. During all of this the coach comes up to me and whispers in my ear, “Rip one.” I take my last couple of swings and walk to the plate.

I step into the box and stare down the pitcher in the eyes with a pure look of hatred. He goes into his windup and I don’t particularly like the pitch so I take it, ball one. I step out of the box, take a warm up swing and look down the third base line for the sign. Swing away the coach motions and I give a quick nod to show I got it and I step into the box and get ready for the next pitch. The pitcher delivers the ball, and in my view the ball looks high but the umpire disagrees. Strike one, and the count sits one and one. This time I don’t step out of the box as I gear for the next pitch.  The ball comes and it’s middle in, perfect. I take my step and swing with all my might and unfortunately I come up empty. The count now sits one and two and I have to protect the plate to the best of my ability to prevent a strikeout. Once again, I call timeout, and take a deep breath as well as a quick warm up swing before I step back into the box.

The next pitch the pitcher makes a very weak attempt at a curve ball and the ball sails over my head just about hitting me. I quickly sprawl in the dirt and quickly pop up and give the smirking pitcher a nasty look. Two and two shouts the ump as I gear up for the next pitch. Again the pitcher misses badly as the ball sails to the fence and ump coughs, “Three and two! Three and two!” Three and two, I think to myself this will be the best pitch I will see this whole at bat and I need to take advantage of it. The pitcher winds up and the balls comes middle in, another opportunity to do some damage. I start my swing and the drive the bat threw the zone and I hear a bang. I smashed that ball I thought to myself.

Immediately, I take off for first as fast as I can and the first base coach is yelling with enthusiasm, “Go! Go! Go!” The thought of looking to see where the ball was going didn’t even enter my mind as I headed for second. Just when I was about to reach second I see my third base coach motioning for me to bypass third and go all the way home. Due to the coaches over exaggeration of telling me to advance I thought it might have been a double in the gap but after I crossed home I realized that all that wasn’t necessary, it was a home run and a tie game. I had succeeded and I couldn’t have been happier as I trotted back to the dugout with a huge smile on my face.

When I reached the dugout all of my teammates slapped me on the back and helmet and told me that I’d came up clutch for them and the team. I sat down took a deep breath and tried to process what just happened, I had hit a game-tying home run. I said “Wow that felt good.” When I finally decided to look up again, I notice that the guys behind me had hit two doubles in a row, another run! Now we had the lead with the score of two to one. We had derailed the pitcher and the other teams train was coming off the tracks. I look up again and my best friend hits a triple and now we have the lead three to one. I jump of the bench and start cheering and yelling at the opposing pitcher. All the pitcher does in slump down and frown to himself, we had defiantly gotten to him. During this inning we go on to score four more runs to make the score a staggering seven to one in favor of us. In all of the excitement I forget that it’s getting cold and I quickly slip on my long sleeve shirt under my jersey and hustle back out to my position, but before I go there my coach stopped me.

“Nice hit there kid, that’s what we really needed. Now, let’s finish these guys off and win this game right here right now.” Coach slapped me on the back and sent me on my way.

“Thanks and sounds like a plan.” I replied.

After this conversation I hustle back to my position and a take a deep breath, by now it’s cold enough that I can see my breath. I hop up and down like a rabbit to keep warm but as the pitch is about to be thrown I settle into my ready position as I await the ball. The ball wasn’t hit to me in the inning. We earned an easy three outs to end the game. We had won the game, and everyone was yelling in excitement. We quickly shake hands with the other team and rush to heat as we were beginning to lose feeling in our fingers.

The Big Game by Kobi

While on the packed, humid bus headed to camp Miniwanca, I had one thing on my mind, the massive cabin leader versus camper soccer game. I was a 13 year old, eager middle school camper returning for my second year. As I stepped out of the blazing hot bus, and stepped into the refreshing, crisp air of Michigan I was immediately greeted by exuberant cabin leaders. I checked in was told my cabin number, cabin leader, and had my mandatory cell phone turn in and lice check. After all of this I unpacked my stuff, set up my bed, and met my cabin mates. We all then, headed up to Bryant field, a tremendous beautiful open grass lot surrounded by trees to play some World Cup (a soccer game) and get to know other campers.

After a week and a half of playing soccer nonstop and getting to know everyone as players the day finally came, we were fully prepared to take on the leaders. All day the game was being hyped up all around camp and when time game, it was game on. It was a breezy, cool evening, sun still shining but the air felt full of excitement and anticipation, before we started I quickly laced up my old, dirty, beat-up pink and black Nike soccer cleats. After we went over the rules for the game, we were finally about to begin. I quickly went over to my teammates to help assign positions, I was playing forward. When I realized that there were 40 campers but only 14 cabin leaders playing, I knew this was going to be a hard game.

The cabin leaders kicked off the game, and were already up a goal within five minutes, after a LIT blasted a shot into the right side of the goal. We were all shocked and I felt that the mood of my teammates was somber, and defeated as if we already lost the game, but I didn’t give up. Fifteen long minutes passed we started to warm up, and strung some passes together to get off three or four shots but the goalie was like a brick wall and stopped every shot we took. Then suddenly, after a hard tackle from our defender, the fastest and the best soccer players on my team was on a breakaway, but the leaders were gaining on him. Someone yelled, “Cross!!” He then served the ball of balance and it was headed right to me. The ball was coming right at me fast and at my waist, I then turned my body with my shoulders squared to the goal, I was thinking to myself make contact with the ball. I lifted my leg and volleyed the ball on with outside of my foot, it went into the left corner of the net and hit the metal with a loud bang. I scored and I couldn’t believe what I had just done, I imitated one of my favorite player’s famous goal, I was filled with joy.  I was met in the middle of the soccer field with hugs in celebration from both campers and leaders, and couldn’t believe what I just done.

I had only tied the game, but the goal lifted the mood from my team and there was a sudden burst of confidence and momentum. After few shots on goal from both teams, I had another opportunity, a leader and camper both attempted to kick the ball but instead the ball went really high into the air, right outside of the opposing team’s box. I stepped up again thinking I need to make some type of contact. I got ready to kick the ball and as soon as I made contact with the ball, I knew that it was going in. The ball curved right into the middle of the goal, blowing right pass the keeper, we then had the lead. I scored two sick volleys in one game, I again celebrated with my team, and I felt both shocked and proud of myself. But the game wasn’t over, we still had more time left.

A leader immediately scored another tap-in goal to give them the tie, the game was then 2-2. I felt was if the game was ending soon, probably because the sun was setting and the brisk Michigan air was starting to affect us. But I the heat came back into my body after the cabin leaders scored off a free kick from outside of the box, I was anxious we were going to lose. We kicked off the game and the boys’ camp director, Adam yelled, “TWO MIUTES LEFT, TWO MINUTES LEFT IN THE GAME!!” It was crunch time, now or never, we sent all of the best shooters to the attacking portion of the field, and the defenders up to midfield. We won a corner kick and I was set to take it everyone was in the box, I held up my hand and proceeded to kick the ball from the corner flag. At first I thought I got under the ball too much and it was going to sail over the goal, but it curved right in front of the keeper, I watched as the ball bounced around, and around, which felt like it was bouncing around for hours. Then I heard someone kick the ball and then ball go into the net, we scored, the game ended a 3-3 draw. I was happy with the tie because of my two goals, while walking back to my cabin to go to bed, I was given many compliments and was even named MVP of the game. When I was back in my cabin and we were all lying down, I could faintly hear my cabin mates talking about the next day, but I was still excited about telling all of family and friends about the big game.

Game Point By: Anya

I knew it was chaos, I knew that there were loud parents, cheerful teams, and even whistles that raged every 5 seconds. To me it was quiet, there was 35 courts in the whole dome, and I could only hear the sound of my short breaths. I was in the middle court and there were 10 courts that surrounded me and my team. In front of me, there was 6 sets of bleachers, each had 8 rows. Behind me was the same look, I scanned the whole room to find my family. Then there they sat; my parents, my sister and my cousins. My parents both made eye contact with me and gave me a thumbs up. My mom was wearing a red Tommy Hilfiger shirt with dark blue jeans and tennis shoes. My dad was wearing a red stars sweatshirt in favor of our team name, and he had on blue jeans and tennis shoes as well. I knew that they both were anxious for me, they had that look in their eyes. Their eyes had that worried and excited look, like my whole life depended on this game.

I saw my sister, she was always glued to her phone, and she had on a Pink sweatshirt on with black leggings and Bear paw boots. When she saw me gaze at her, her hand awkwardly waved to me and she mouthed the words “good luck”. I knew that she was tired, she was mad at me for making her wake up early.

My two cousins were sitting in the bleachers with a smile slapped across their faces. One’s a girl, she had on a casual shirt and leggings with boots, and the other one was a boy, he had on skinny jeans with a blue shirt and converse. In their minds, this was just a game. To me, this was way more than that, it was, closure. Closure to see if I had really worked hard this season. Then there I stood on the chairs next to some of my teammates and my coach. I was there with my team out on 16th court. Next to me was a table, there were 2 people there. In front of them there was a scoreboard, it read 22-24, and the other team needed one point to win the game. My hands were clenched in fists and my clothes were clinging to my body as the sweat was dripping all over. I looked to my right and I saw my teammates cheering. We all looked alike, we wore blue long sleeve jerseys, dark blue spandex, and white & red stars socks with Asics shoes and knee pads.  I looked to my left and I saw my coach, she wore a stars sweatshirt and black leggings. I saw her hands clenched to her pants as she looked at the scoreboard. I could tell that she was worried, it was the 2nd set, and I was up. I remember the week before this tournament, I had been practicing for about 6 months for this moment.

My coach whispered to me, “Anya, when your about to serve the ball, it isn’t about how hard you serve it, it just matters that you get it over and in the court.”

That echoed in my head throughout the whole practice and when I got home. Right now, that was all I could think about.

“Just get it over, it doesn’t need to be hard”

“Just get it over” “Just get it over”

“It is time” I thought. I had get just 2 serves over the net and it would all be done. My teammate walked over to me and there was a rapid loud whistle that came after. My coach scurried to me and told me that it was my turn. At first I hesitated, then I walked up to the line. The down ref whispered me and my teammate’s number to the people on the table with the scoreboard. Then she told me to go in the court. I walked up to the server’s line and all my teammates were all cheering me on. “Oh, no!” I thought, I was totally alarmed. I realized then that I had to serve this ball. My teammates and family were all counting on me. I felt that my heart was pounding so much, that other people around me could hear as well.

“I don’t think I can do this” I thought to myself.

The questions started rolling in “If it’s just me and the ball, then why am I nervous?” “Why can’t I just suck it up and serve the ball?”

I didn’t know the answer to those questions.

I suddenly had a jolt of confidence. I suddenly felt this self-assurance rush over my body. It felt like I could suddenly get this serve over not matter what. The up-ref had finally picked up her hand and blew the whistle for me to serve. I took a couple deep breaths, I put the ball in my hands and started bouncing it.

“1 *bounce 2 *bounce 3 *bounce 4 *bounce” I counted silently in my head. I swirled the ball in my hands a couple times. The ball felt rough and firm. I slowly brought my head back up and started. I tossed to ball up a little in front of me. I took a step and felt the ball make contact with my hand. I opened my eyes wide and saw the serve go over the net. A huge sigh of relief came over me.

“I did it” I mentioned in my head. The excitement was wild. The families on the bleachers all stand to their feet and start to clap. “It isn’t over just yet”. The other team gets the ball and the one of the players passes it over onto our side. My teammate next to me pops it over to the setter. The setter sets the ball and the hitter spikes it. My teammates screech at the top of their lungs. We got the point! We all come together and everyone gives me a high five. The crowd goes wild, I look at my parents and they have the biggest smile on their face.

“Push one, Push one” My team yelped. We only needed one point to tie the game. If we make one mistake, then we lose. I grab the ball and head towards the servers line for the 2nd time. Now the real pressure was on. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I bounce and swirl the ball again. I toss the ball in the air, take a step and then swing through. After a second I look at my family, and they’re happy face suddenly wiped away. The whistle blows and the hand points to the other side, “They won”. That’s when I drop to my knees and lower my head. My disappointed look quickly takes over my smile.

My hand comes over my head and I think to myself “What have I done”. My teammates come running over to help me up. They don’t look pleased, but they don’t blame me. I blame myself, I walk over to the net and shake hands with the opposing team. I repeat the words ‘good game’ multiple times. I look at their happy faces and I get even more upset. My coach brings the players including me to a corner and tells us “You guys had a great season, I am proud of you even though we lost. Volleyball isn’t just about winning”. I was disappointed in myself, but what happened, happened. I walked over to my bag and took off my shoes with my ankle braces. I took off my knee-pads and put on my sweatpants and slides. I strolled to my parents and they all said I did a good job, but I didn’t think so. That was it, I lost. Me and my team lost and there was nothing I could do about it.  After a couple days past, I learned that it’s okay if I lose a game or two, it just matters that you learn from your mistakes. I knew that my family were supporting me no matter what happened with my volleyball. I knew that this happened for a reason, it was because I would have more opportunity to be the best at what I’m passionate at. I learned one important thing from this experience and that was, teamwork. I learned about teamwork because you cannot play any game without your teammates help. We are a team and there’s no “I” in team.

The Waterskis By: Micah

My first time I put on those skis I knew I wanted to be able to do this for the rest of my life. I was at North Star Camp for my first summer there and I was having the best time of my life and made so many friends that I will cherish forever. I was at camp trying to get up on water skis and it was my first time ever. A kid who was in pine manor and had been there since he was 8 and was now 15. His name was Judd and if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t of gotten up on water skis. I got into the water I felt the cold rush of lake water rush up my body. The chill itself was exhilarating, I got on the red malibu, the boat that was everyone favorite and once I tried on my first time I realized it was the hardest to ride on. I kept trying and everyday I went I got slightly better everyday. I told myself every time I hurt myself when I fell down or I didn’t think I had enough time I told myself you can do this Micah. I got back in the water cold or warm day I still did what I had and wanted to do.

It was the last two weeks of camp when I started water skiing. I didn’t know how to do it at all I had to accomplish this because it was always a goal of mine to learn water skiing. I wish I live somewhere were I could do it every week or so. I Was in the water and they let Judd get into the boat so he could teach me how to get up on water skis. He said bend your knees hold on to the rope and act like you are sitting down in a seat. He also said let the boat pull you up and say hit it when you want us to speed up. I was so excited but also scared then I just said HIT IT. The boat pulled me up but I got half way there until I fell and both of my skis fell off and I got a face full of water. I was like, “Ohhh, my gosh!” I didn’t know what happened but I looked around for the boat and my skis I swam to the skis and then with them I went to the boat I threw the skis to the people inside the boat and I swam to it and pulled myself into it. I got into the boat and smiled then started laughing uncontrollably. It was at that moment I knew I wanted and needed to get up on skis.

I woke up that morning feeling really good I went to go and brush my teeth. I hadn’t been feeling 100% ever since I got out of the health center but today I knew I was completely over my sickness. They had my favorite for breakfast bagels and they tasted so good. I went to my cabin and cleaned up my area and did my job which was sweeping. I left for the water ski shack where I waited for the boats to glide in. I heard the malibu first then the ski natique then the mastercraft. I was let in first I got my skis and my life jacket. I had a really good feeling even feeling cocky. I got in the water and let my body get loose and screamed hit it. The boat jerked my body forward but I was determined to not let go. I leaned back and remembered everything Judd had told me but in fast motion. Before I knew I was standing up. Little did I know getting up was the first big test of many. The malibu had a shorter rope so they had a less wide but taller wake. Wake is the waves on the side of you that the boat’s motor makes. I kept riding over the waves and every time I hit one my body wanted to fall and I kept bouncing and hitting the water but I never let go. I was a minute and a half into a three minute run and I fell. I felt a lot better though I finally got it.

I kept doing my water skiing till the end of camp and I was still having fun with my friends and still getting to know more people. I had made a name for myself because I had gotten up in only a week and half and apparently that is quick so I was like okay. I made it to the end of my thirty day experience and eager for thirty more next summer. It finally was over sad but excited I loved my experiences and my friends there but I wanted to see my family again and my dogs so much. As soon as I got home I told everyone my experiences and how much I wanted to do it again. I told them that next year I want to do more water skiing, try wake boarding and after that I want to drop and slalom ski. I was ready for another big challenge and I know it was ready for me.

A Human’s Best Friend By: Mia

It was October 25, 2013, my family and I were going to a festival. We had been planning on going for a while. Since this festival was outside we decided to bring our dogs and let them get some exercise. We had two dogs, Koko, the 15 year-old, and Pelli, the 13 year-old. Pelli was a yellow Labrador retriever, who thought she was a lap dog. Koko was a brown Labrador retriever, who had arthritis but only wanted to run around.  As we went to get my dog Pelli, we realized she was sick. She was lying down on her stomach and wasn’t moving even though we were calling her name and holding up treats. We knew something wasn’t right. My brother got down on the floor and looked at my dog. I couldn’t look so I ran upstairs and into my garage. I was freaking out, confused with what was happening.

My brother was carrying my dog up our hill and yelling “Open the trunk!”

Once my dog was safely in the car, we all got in. Since the veterinarian was just about a minute away, we decided to go see her. Dr. Smith was our go-to vet. She always made time for us if we needed her help. When we got there she expressed deep concern for Pelli. After about 10 minutes of talking to her we all came to a conclusion that we needed to get Pelli to the closest dog hospital which happened to be the Midwest Veterinary Referral Center since it was less than two minutes away. When we finally got to the building it didn’t even look like a pet hospital. It was a long building that had metallic tiles surrounding the big entrance doors. Almost the whole front of the building was made of glass. It looked more like a dog spa than a hospital to me. By the time we got to the front desk we were frantic. I remember the woman at the desk acting so calm and wondering how she can be so relaxed when my dog might be dying and in pain. It only took about a minute for the vet to come out and find us. First he looked at Pelli to see if she had any cuts or bruises on her.

When he saw that she did not he told us “Were going to take her into the back and take an x-ray of her to see what’s going on in her internals.”

It was only 10 minutes but it felt like 10 days. When he came back out he informed us that she had a fabric cloth stuck in her intestine. None of my family knew what to say. The vet then went on to say that they needed to perform surgery on her to get it out or she had no chance. Of course we said yes. All I could think about was that Pelli was family to me. I was scared and sad and even mad that this could have happened. We weren’t allowed to see her until two days after the surgery was performed. When my family was finally able to I knew I wasn’t ready. I walked in that room thinking that she would be walking and the same old happy dog as before. I was wrong. What I saw tore me apart. There was Pelli. She had tubes in her legs, chest, and nose. Her back was shaved in the shape of a square. She had a bandage the size of a two hands on her stomach and she was almost two times larger than before due to all the fluids being put inside her. I just ran. I ran outside the room. I ran outside the building. Then I stopped. I sat down on the cold grey concrete and cried until there were no more tears. My Aupair Dani came running outside to find me. She sat down next to me and hugged me. She was telling me that it’s okay to cry and that she understood what I was going through. I sat there crying some more for around 10 minutes until I finally decided to go back into that room. The room itself was depressing it was painted grey, had a table for a dog to lay on, and counter surrounding all sides of the room covered with computers, x-ray machines, and papers. I took pictures of Pelli on my phone so that I would never forget her. We left a few minutes after that. I had never seen my family so sad and it scared me.

Pelli was in the hospital for about a week after her surgery. At first she wasn’t doing so well. After a few more days she started to get better but then something went wrong. We don’t know what happened but she wasn’t doing well anymore. Then it happened we went back to the hospital, we knew it was coming but we just hoped it wouldn’t be that day or anyway soon.

“We have to put Pelli down.” Said the veterinarian.

I knew that if I saw it happen I would be completely destroyed so I went back home with my Aupair and waited for my family to come back. It was only about 2 weeks after Pelli was put down that Koko started acting strange. She had been all alone without Pelli for longer than ever before and we could all tell she was getting sad. She wasn’t chasing the tennis balls anymore and she wasn’t nearly as energetic as before. At first we thought it was just her age. Then she wasn’t eating as much. Finally came November 30. My brother went downstairs to feed Koko. He walked over to my dog and looked down at her lying in the crate. Just by looking at her he knew she wasn’t okay. Koko was lying on her stomach with her legs sticking out. She had thrown up on her bed and looked miserable. He started yelling for us to come down stairs. Koko wouldn’t get up. She wouldn’t even move a joint. When I looked at my dog I could tell she was ready to go. She had lived a long happy life and she was done. Once again my brother picked up my dog and ran up our hill as I opened our trunk. This process was too familiar and we all knew it. Instead of driving to our veterinarian like before, we drove straight to Midwest Veterinary Referral Center and ran inside.

They brought Koko back to a room and told us the devastating words again, “Koko needs to be put down.”

I was crushed again. It was like 2 pieces of me were just ripped away. I hate feeling vulnerable but at the moment that’s the only way I can describe my feelings. When I thought about all the reasons Koko was dying I had narrowed it down to 2. One, that it was just her age. After all, she was 15 with arthritis. Two, that Pelli was the only reason Koko was still fighting. When I talk about my dogs death now I automatically say that Koko died because of reason number two. Maybe it’s because I can’t handle the thought of my dog being too old. Maybe it’s because I want to think of my dogs together in heaven. Honestly, I’ll never really know.

It was about half a year after my dogs died that my family and I went to PetSmart to play with dogs for fun. They have a rescue group called Diana’s Grove Dog Rescue that comes in every Saturday. When we finally got there we decided to check out the dogs in the back. As we were looking we spotted a black Weimador (Weimaraner and Labrador mix). He was a tall, skinny but muscular dog. He looked almost desperate for love. He had these big brown puppy eyes that felt like they were looking into your soul. We asked about him and one of the volunteers told us a bit about him.

“This is Wallace. He has been with us for about 8 months. The first month that he was here, he was still with his brothers. One of his siblings had a disease and they all had to be put into quarantine.” Said the volunteer.

Wally never had anything but it was just for safety. Unfortunately that “safety” cost Wally a month of no adoption and no social experiences with other dogs.

The volunteer continued, “After Wallace was quarantined and sent to a vet he was put up for adoption. He’s been up for adoption ever since.” This means Wally was at the rescue for 7 months.

“How come Wally hasn’t been adopted yet?” My mom asked.

“For some reason people seem to prefer just about the exact opposite of Wallace. A lot of the dogs we get that stay here for over a month happen to be either black male dogs just like him or older dogs. These older dogs don’t even have to be a year yet for little kids to consider them not as cute and for parents to automatically skip over them.” Said the lady.

It’s weird to think someone wouldn’t want Wally because of his age or his fur or something as dumb as that but it was true. When I first saw him he was the only dog not barking and he had this look that made you want to just squeeze him. We decided to foster him for a night and the next morning we adopted him. I learned that people and animals are going to die and you are going to love someone or something and their going to leave. The hardest part is how you take the loss. Wally is my new dog and I’m so happy that we have him but one day he won’t be here anymore and my family will be sad again. Honestly, that’s okay because it’s okay to be sad every now and then. What’s not okay is never recovering from a loss. Koko and Pelli were just the first losses that got to me. I will miss them and never forget them but I’ve learned to move on.

The Lot a Luv Terror by: Elijah

It was a very cloudy day with 100% of rain, I was in the sky blue painted, 4 Year Old Room right across the hall from the Pre-K Room and Lot a Luv day care center.  At the time I really didn’t care that it was going to rain, as a matter of fact I kind of liked rain so there was really no problem. Until I heard a crash of thunder and I got scared.  My teacher had told me to stay calm and everything will be ok, but it didn’t work. I told her I wanted my mom and to go home, so she called my mom. But there was no answer. So I sat there and put my head down and tried not to think about the storm.

My teachers turned on the local news to see what was going on in the cubicle with the TV in it.  I couldn’t really understand what the weather man was saying.  Then she and my other teacher got an alert on her phone. The alert read… “There is a severe thunderstorm in the STL area find shelter now! Stay away from doors and windows.  Find shelter now!” After I read that alert I lost it, it went to screaming, crying, then to again screaming. My teacher asked me to be quiet. I didn’t listen then she TOLD me to be quite. I didn’t listen, she finally asked me if I wanted to go to my aunt who was the “Principal” to make me feel better I said yes.

We got there and Aunt Burns was watching the news on her T.V. “Hi!” Aunt Burns said.  “Elijah is having trouble with the storm and he would like to stay in your office.” Aunt Burns laughed and said. “I can’t have an Elijah stay in my office for something as silly as a storm, but if you would like Elijah I can call your mom if you want.” I said ok and Ms. Tasha and I went back to the classroom.  We I got back I checked to see if the storm had settled down, but when I had got to the window the lights started to flicker… A few seconds later they were out I got super scared and all the other kids did too.  My teachers said to once again stay calm but this time they were talking to the entire class. Some students calmed down and others didn’t, I was one of the students who didn’t calm down, and the worst part was that all my friends had left and gone home which made even worse.

20 minutes went by and the lights were still turned off and the storm was still getting worse.  I was still scared with the other kids and screaming, suddenly there was ringing in my ear I really didn’t know where it was coming from with all the crying and screaming. I listened closely and the noise sounded familiar. A few moments later Ms. Tasha yelled out “go to the bathroom!” I finally realized that it wasn’t a ringing it was the tornado sirens.  Ms. Tasha told us to pray and we will be ok, everyone prayed including Ms. Tasha and Ms. Shantay. The sirens went off and were directed to be seated by Aunt Burns.  Another kid and I named Raunel lost it and started to run around the classroom like crazy people.  Our teachers told us to sit down but we refused, and started to climb on the old wooden cubies that had a red stain on it from me spilling Cool-AID earlier that month.  Ms. Shantay yelled and told us to get down… but it wasn’t until the third time we got down. She said we had a time out and couldn’t get up until we were told.  So Raunel and I sat down and in the two burgundy chairs in the corner by the fish tank.  Raunel sat down and said he wanted to take one of the fish in the tank home, and told me to pinky swear not to tell the teacher. And of course I told on him. Raunel got furious and started to kick Ms. Shantay and said that “I was going to regret what I did”.

By that time his mom was there. She was wearing high heels and lots of make-up and smelled like Steak n Shake, she reminded me of a clown in one of those scary haunted houses. Ms. Shantay told the lady what her son had did and the lady got and started to curse out Ms. Shantay for saying her kid was causing trouble.   Right behind her was my dad and I was so relieved to see him, because it looked like the storm was getting weaker.

Unexpectedly my dad walked me outside and said to stay calm and everything will be okay.  Ms. Shantay also let the other kids go outside but they looked completely fine with it and started to play on the monkey bars and the swing set.  The thing that really made it crazy is that it was lightning outside and the kids were playing on medal objects.  While I was banging on doors so someone could let me in, but my dad said stop and calm down.  He had told me that storm aren’t that bad and you’ll be fine but I didn’t listen and just kept crying and screaming.

10 minutes later Ms. Shantay opened the door and said “now see that wasn’t so bad”. I gave her a stank look and walked away. She laughed and said I’ll see you tomorrow.


The End.