The first thing I remember is being in a kiddie pool, squirming around with all my brothers and sisters.

After we had all opened our eyes and grown a bit, lots of people came to look at us. They picked us up and played with us a bit, and sometimes they would point to one of my siblings and say, “That one.” Our mom had to stay outside while the people came, but she jumped against the door the whole time, trying to get in so we wouldn’t be alone with these strangers. Eventually, my family came to look at us. The small one pointed at me and one of her parents picked me up and took me out of the pool. I tried to give them playful nips, but apparently humans don’t like that, especially when you still have all your very sharp baby teeth. They glanced at a few of my siblings, but the small one was adamant that I was the one. After deciding to name me “Tallulah” and promising to come back, they left for a while.

We went home together, and they taught me how to be a good dog. The large male was “Father,” and he was in charge; the large female was “Mother,” next in command; and the smallest one was “Child,” the next-next in command. They taught me not to chew on the furniture, or other humans, and gave me treats when I did things right, like sit or stay when they told me to.

My humans take good care of me, and I take good care of them. I protect them, barking at anything threatening and giving them a soft thing to hug and pet. They used to give me toys to play with and ropes to tug on, and would throw things for me to chase. I am too old for most of that now, but I can still tear the stuffing out of a teddy bear in three seconds flat. They took me to an animal doctor to give me all sorts of shots to make sure I would not get sick. That place still scares me a bit, but when we have to, I go reluctantly because I know it’s for my own good, and then bolt for the door when I know we are done.

They can’t help the cancer I now have, but they’re doing their best to make sure I’m as comfortable as I can be. My leg hurts sometimes, but they give me pills to make it feel better. The best part is that I’ve discovered that if I spit the pills out, they’ll wrap them in all sorts of yummy things like turkey and ham for me! Child and Father see that I will be okay for a while, but I totally have Mother wrapped around my finger.

I can get Mother up at two in the morning to play with me if I make enough noise, and she’s the one who puts the most meat around my pills. I even have not just one bed, but two blankets as well, all of which she’ll move for me whenever I decide to get up and sleep somewhere else! She even gives me extra treats now, but so do Father and Child when I make sure they don’t see Mother giving them to me. They may think they are the ones in charge, but I’ve had them right in my paw this whole time.

I love my family, and they love me. I couldn’t have asked for a better family and my family always tells me every day they couldn’t have asked for a better dog.

— Torrey Cranston

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