My Dad had a boxer growing up and after leaving home and getting married he decided that he wanted one for our family. We named him Eric, after my dad’s dog. Eric was a puppy when we got him, and the three of us kids were very young. and we all grew up together. Eric was a very protective dog and never let a stranger close to any of us kids. I think Eric was part cat because there were a few times he almost had a premature death. One afternoon my mom loaded us kids in the car to take us shopping so she chained up Eric to the tree in the backyard so he wouldn’t get any straying kids in the neighborhood or anyone else entering our yard. After we left in the car my mom had a strange feeling and turned the car around and went back home and went to the back yard. When she got there she saw Eric dangling in the air because he tried to jump over the fence and the chain got caught in the tree and held him suspended in the air. She got to him as soon as possible , unchained him and to our amazement he was still alive. Eric was always with us whenever we were at home, laying next to the dinner table usually next to me in case I gave him some dinner scraps. Eric was tough on strangers but gentle as a lamb with us kids. At night Eric would crawl up on the foot of my bed and sometimes would sneak up and try to lay his head on my pillow.

Every other year we would go traveling across country to visit relatives in Vermont. We dropped Eric off at the vet to take care of him while we traveled. Upon arrival at home the first thing we did was pick up our beloved dog. When we picked him up we were shocked to see basically skin and bones. The vet said Eric didn’t eat while we were gone because he missed us so much. Needless to say we got back just in time to nurse him back to health.
We could always depend on arriving home from school that Eric would be eager to see us and would have a wet lick for each of us. Every morning when I got up I went to the feed bag and got a nice bowl of dog food for him as well as fill his water bowl.
One day we noticed that Eric didn’t seem to be feeling good and so my dad took him to the vet to find out what was wrong. The news wasn’t good, the vet said he had leukemia and there was nothing he could do. In the following weeks my best friend continued to get worse. One night I came home from boy scouts and headed off to bed. My mom and dad came in to say good night as they always did, but they didn’t seem very cheerful. “Son”, my mom said, “your dog is very sick and we had to put him to sleep”. I broke into tears immediately and started sobbing over the loss of my best friend. My mom held me in her arms and tried to comfort me, but there is no comfort when you loose your best friend. Trying to help comfort me my folks talked about going on a nice vacation and see some of our relatives that we hadn’t seen for a long time.
We went on the trip, but on our return we didn’t have our Eric waiting to greet us and give us a big sloopy kiss.

David from WA