I lost my childhood friend a few months ago and I still find myself crying at times. Her name was Pumpkin but called Punky more often than not. She was 16 years old. I am 22 and have had her since I was 8 years old. She was a cocker mix with poodle. My family adopted her from a kill shelter, she was on her last day there. She was black with a white stripe on her chest.

Punky would never leave my side, if I went anywhere in the house and closed the door she would beat on the door, as I would get ready for school in the bathroom she would lay against the back of my legs while I fixed my hair. I took her everywhere with me until I started dating, I even took her swimming. My parents said she would sit and stare at the front door waiting for me to return.

A few years after I moved out of my parents home she started losing weight, I thought perhaps it was her age. So I started feeding her Science Diet wet food for seniors, she put on some pounds. Then one day she started having trouble eating, so I hand fed her, she became weaker and weaker. I knew something was seriously wrong when she no longer followed me, appeared dazed and unable to stand on her own. I would reach down from my bed at night and caress her and tell her everything will be alright, that I would help her.
When I took her to the vet I was not expecting to have to put her to sleep…I guess in my mind I thought she would live indefinitely. I bundled her in a towel and held her in my arms all the way there. Her breathing was shallow, and her body slightly limp, she gazed up at me as we waited in the vet office. They took a test, we waited ,while we waited I said I would pawn or sell my the cello that I’ve had since I was a kid to do whatever it took. They came back and told us she had the highest level of kidney failure they had ever seen and that there was no coming back from it…we had to put her to sleep.

As they were administering the shot she put her head in my hand and leaned into me…I couldn’t handle it and broke down. It may sound odd and pathetic but sometimes I think about leaving this town that I grew up in because everywhere I go I remember moments I had with her, it still seems so unreal. I cry about her at the drop of the hat and wonder when will that pass?

Erica from KS