Why is a dog a man’s best friend?
It seems strange. We have cats, birds, and fish as pets, but none of them leave quite the impression on us that dogs do. A dog is there when you need him, quiet when you don’t, and always up for your next move.
My family dog, Twister, was no exception.
Twister was almost two years old when we adopted him. He was from a dog farm in South America, adopted by a family in South Florida that could no longer deal with his constant health issues. His skin was constantly breaking, his paws bled, and ear infections were a weekly occurrence. My older brother somehow convinced my mom to bring him home for ‘just a weekend’, which quickly turned into a lifetime.
Twister never healed 100%. He undoubtedly got better, but his health issues always lingered. Fortunately, he didn’t let that hold him back. He loved to play tug of war, to run on the golf course with my dad, and most of all – he loved to swim. Our family had a swimming pool that he would chomp at the bit to get into. Just the sight of a pair of swimming trunks was all it took to send him into a frenzy. When he saw someone dip a toe in, he would circle the pool in a clockwise motion once entirely before diving in without a care in the world. As silly as it sounds, I’d give anything for one more swim with that dog. If I enjoy anything in my life as much as Twister enjoyed swimming – I’ll have done alright.
He was also our protector. Anyone who entered our house got a stern look from Twister for an uncomfortably long amount of time – truth be told, he never loved anyone that was outside of our immediate family. His protective nature was especially true in the case of my mom. If a salesperson came to the door or the cable guy was installing a new box, Twister wouldn’t leave my mom’s side until everything was back to normal. He had a strong sense of loyalty, and we all loved him for it.
In 2015, Twister’s nagging health issues caught up with him. His hind legs almost completely gave out. While he seemed to be with us mentally, his body just wasn’t. We all knew his time with us was coming to an end – yet we just couldn’t say goodbye. We took him to the vet three times and carried him around the house for 10 months before any of us could let go. I’ll never forget our final day with him and his final moments with us. He meant the world to everyone in my family – it’s why we all felt compelled to be with him until the very end.
I hope heaven has the biggest swimming pool a dog could ask for. Rest easy, Twist.