The Best Friend a Man Could Ever Ask For
by Adam Austin
Wow, an 18 year old man fighting back tears and occasionally letting loose and crying like a newborn baby. Yesterday, August 8th, 2012, I lost my best friend. An eleven year old chocolate lab named Levi.
Levi was my father's dog, but we got him when I was seven years old. We grew up together and had a lot of fun over the years, except he aged much quicker. I believe my father and Levi were very close but not many know how close he was to me. We had such a strong secret bond.
Every day after school he would come to me as if he were asking how my day was. If I smiled and patted him, he knew I was happy and his tail would wag. If, in my frustration, I ignored him, he would instantly drop his head and follow me until I smiled. He would wag his tail in contentment every time I smiled.
I never talked to him like a dog but instead like a brother. At the ripe age of five, our family discovered a tumor that in a few years grew into a huge lump. Luckily it was just a fatty deposit, not cancer.
As he grew older, he became more lethargic but always ready to assist you if you were feeling down. He began to lay around all day and this is where all my friends met the dog. They did not know of the bond we shared.
Although it didn't seem like it, due to his lazy ways, we still had our best friend moments. Every time I would walk by him, his tail would wag, even if he was too tired to raise his head.
When I was working on my car in the shop late nights, he was ALWAYS sure to follow me in. When I became frustrated with a stubborn part, I would begin to lose my temper, but a friendly nudge would set me straight again.
Due to his rapid aging compared to me, he started as a little brother and passed as a big brother. Yesterday he was a bit more active than usual, he was in the gravel driveway scratching his back on the jagged stones. My sister was in a rush to work and threw her car in reverse.
I cannot even finish that part. I am at work and trying to keep my composure as best I can. I should have taken the day off. He lay in the driveway, clinging to life in his old age. His frail bones and aged body could not hold on much longer.
My biggest regret to this day is not stopping at home when I drove by and saw him laying there in his last moments.
I was told on the phone what had happened, and was on the job site nearby, but I was with a superior and I did not ask to stop when we drove by. I have never fought back tears so hard in my life as when I saw him laying helplessly. My father comforted him in his last few hours. When I got home, he was already in his grave.
The last thing I said to him was, "What's up boss?" As I said, I spoke to him as a friend, not a dog. I gave him some of my steak from dinner so his last memory of me was LOVE, and although in frustration I have yelled at him, I always felt true LOVE for him. He was my best friend and helped me grow into the young man I am today.
One memory I have that makes me laugh out loud to this day is when my fiend spilled spaghetti sauce all over the kitchen floor, and Levi walked up and looked at me as if he was waiting for approval. I said "It's all yours buddy," and he went to town cleaning every last drop up.
He taught me patience, what a true friend really is, how loyal a best friend can be. He gave me so many great memories that will linger in my mind for eternity.
Not just a dog, a Best friend.