Woman's Best Friend

Written in response to: Write a story about lifelong best friends.... view prompt


Coming of Age Friendship Sad

June 5, 2010

Dear Diary, 

I made a new frend today! She's a puppy named Gracie! I love her soooo much!! She likes to chase her tale and play and she smiles alot. I'm so exsited to play with her more tomorow!

I smile at my old diary entry, remembering that day like it was yesterday. I was only six years old (about to be seven) and I had just completed my first year of elementary school. It was really hard for me at the time. Many kids thought I was weird, so not one kid wanted to be my friend. But then, my mom presented me with a small yellow Labrador puppy named Gracie, and my whole life changed. I spent the whole summer with her, never leaving her side. We were practically inseparable. Whenever she had to go to the veterinarian to get her ears checked or get her vaccines, I insisted on going with her. Whenever she went into the backyard to go to the bathroom, I went with her. The first night with her, I cried and cried until my mother would let her sleep in my room. 

Now, almost exactly thirteen years later, as an eighteen-year-old soon-to-be college student, I sit in that same bedroom, going through all of my things in preparation for moving out. Gracie, now a big thirteen-year-old dog, sits by my side. She recently became sick, and I really worry for her. She’s been my best friend for years, and I don’t want anything to happen to her. I can’t come to terms with the fact that dogs can’t live as long as humans. 

I keep shuffling through my old journals. I was a big writer all throughout my childhood - I didn’t have many people to talk to about my problems, so I wrote them all down. I would spend hours writing in my bedroom, late at night, Gracie snoring next to me. I did everything from journaling to creative writing to poetry. 

I suddenly come across my journal from my eighth grade year of school. It was one of the journals that I spent the most time writing in. I run my hands over the familiar rough edges of the paper and open it carefully. The very first entry reads this:

August 16, 2018

Dear Diary, 

Today was my first day of eighth grade. It was horrible. I’ve never felt more lonely in my life. Over the summer, tons of people were hanging out and I was never invited to anything. Everyone ignored me. It’s like I was a part of the wall, just in the background and nothing more. I felt so alone. That is, until I got home. When I got home, I collapsed onto my bed and started crying. Gracie came to my side and laid next to me. She let me cry into her fur. It truly feels like my only friend in this world is her. I’m so grateful for Gracie.

I sigh, looking back on that awful day. Junior high kids could be so mean.

Finally, a couple of hours later, all of my belongings were packed away in boxes and totes. Some of them would be going to Goodwill on my way to my apartment, and some I would be taking with me. I was even leaving a few things here at my parents’ house. 

“All right, Gracie. Time to load the car.” I grab the nearest box and start to walk it out, expecting Gracie to follow me. But she stays still. I turn around, feeling a pang in my heart. “Gracie?”

She doesn’t move.

I drop the box and quickly rush to her side. “Gracie?” I’m starting to panic when she suddenly lifts her head.

“Oh, Gracie. You made me so worried!” I wrap my arms around her neck, feeling hot tears threaten to spill out. I take a few deep breaths, breathing in the familiar scent of her fur, then back away a little. “Are you okay, girl?”

She stares back at me, her deep, dark eyes seemingly gazing into my soul. It’s like I can hear what she’s thinking: You don’t have to worry about me. I’m not going anywhere yet.

Still shaken up, I go back to the box. This time, Gracie follows me.

Later, I’m on my way to my apartment. All of my boxes are safely tucked away in the backseat. I’ve already made my stop at Goodwill, so my car feels a little less full. Gracie is sitting in the passenger seat, looking out the window. I’ve turned up the radio quite a bit, humming along as I drive.

Suddenly, Gracie starts coughing. I immediately feel anxiety rising up in me. I reach a hand over to run my fingers through her fur, hoping that will help comfort her. She keeps hacking, and it sounds painful. I start murmuring to her in a soothing voice, “It’s okay, girl. It’ll be okay. You’ll be okay.”

Finally, she stops, but she seems more tired than she was. She puts her head down and starts to drift off to sleep. A bit relieved, I pat her back and keep my hand on her as I drive.

August 23, 2023

Dear Diary,

Today was my first day of college classes! It has been quite a wild ride. I met a girl who I think could be a potential friend. She has similar interests to me. 

I’m also really enjoying living in my own apartment. Now it really is just Gracie and I. But I’m getting increasingly worried about Gracie. She’s really old now, and she’s not in good shape. I think I’m going to need to take her to the vet soon, but I’m scared of what he will tell me. 

August 28, 2023

Today has been the worst day of my life. But I know a worse day is coming. 

I took Gracie to the vet. He told me that she’s really sick, and she’s not getting better. She’s old and not in good shape. He told me that I should really consider… putting her down.

I don’t know if I can let her go. She’s been my only friend for so long. I can’t even think about life without her. This apartment would feel so empty. 

Oh God, what do I do? How can I let my only best friend go?

But it’s probably what’s best for her. Well, not probably. It is what’s best for her. She’s old and tired. She’s lived a good, long life. And now she isn’t comfortable anymore. 

But how can I do it? How can I live without her?

August 31, 2023

I had to let her go.

September 2, 2023

It’s been a couple days now. I feel I should try to write about this.

I made the very, very hard decision to put Gracie down on August 30. I spent her last night on earth entirely awake, stroking her fur while she slept. Trying to burn the image of her into my mind, I guess. I cried. A lot. I thought I had cried enough to where I wouldn’t be able to at the vet the next day. But I was wrong. Seeing them give her the shot was the hardest moment of my life. I barely made it back to my apartment without breaking down. I haven’t gone to any classes since it happened. 

I can’t write about this anymore right now. I don’t know how I ever will.

October 16, 2023

My friend Brooklyn has helped me get out of my slump lately. And she convinced me that living alone in my apartment is too quiet of a lifestyle for a college student, so I’m now living with her in a different, bigger apartment. She actually has a dog of her own, a three-year-old beagle named Max. He’s really sweet once he gets used to you.

I think it has helped me to be around more people, and to finally have a human friend. I’ve had some complicated feelings about living with another dog, but I think that overall I’m getting better. I went through a really rough patch of depression where I couldn’t even bring myself to write in this journal. Thanks to Brooklyn and Max, though, I think I’m improving.

Gracie will forever live in my heart.

November 3, 2023

Well, Brooklyn convinced me that it was time for a new relationship to start. I got a new puppy today. I’ve been thinking about it for a while, but I was too scared to get another dog because I didn’t want to ever feel that pain of losing Gracie again. But Brooklyn convinced me that it was time, and that Gracie wouldn’t want me to not move on.

So, my new puppy is a “boxador”, a mix of a boxer and a Labrador. It’s kind of nice, because it’s like he has a touch of Gracie in him, being part Lab. His name is Ozzie and he’s adorable! I’m already really attached, which kind of brings back the fear of loss. But, Brooklyn has helped me learn that I need to live in the present moment and not live in fear of the future. 

Gracie would be happy for me. 

So, I’m excited to start this new friendship. Some people might call it lame to have a true friendship with dogs, but I think that dogs deserve all the love and care we can give them. I mean, who ever said that best friends have to be human?

June 11, 2023 20:54

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Zatoichi Mifune
19:00 Jul 16, 2023

Call it a weakness, but I have to cry whenever a dog dies. Even in stories. If that's not the sort of start that makes you feel proud about this story, or encourages you to write more, then I'll start again. Diary entries are usually very hard to do, but you handled it really well. (Although I do agree with Michelle's comment, it can't be changed anymore and it's not that big of a deal anyway). I could tell immediately that there was truth in this story, it makes it vibrate and adds another level of amazingness to it. Great, great. Goi...


Emma D
20:43 Jul 16, 2023

Thank you so much for the high praise! Your comment means a lot to me! This story was inspired by my two dogs who are both very special to me. (And no, I don't call that a weakness - I cry when it comes to dog deaths too!)


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Michelle Oliver
22:51 Jun 11, 2023

Oh Emma! I read August 31 and cried. I had to go looking for the tags you chose, because it read so true, I thought there must be a creative nonfiction tag, ie based on ready life events and experiences. That’s saying that you have a very authentic writing style for this piece. Well done. I must admit to being partial to stories about puppies, especially Labradors. I’m a Labby mum (see my profile pic, his name is Baloo and he’s beautiful!) My only critique is the first diary entry. It reads too well for a six year old. Don’t be afraid to be ...


Emma D
03:44 Jun 12, 2023

Thank you so much for your feedback, Michelle! It means a lot! I actually wrote this somewhat based on two of my dogs. I do have a Lab puppy named Gracie, and she's one of my best friends, so when I saw the prompt about best friends I immediately thought, why not write about a dog? And I also have a boxador named Ginger who is now really old and sick, and I fear I'll have to let her go soon. That's kind of where the inspiration came from. Thank you for your critique as well! I did wonder if I should try to change the first diary entry up a b...


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