Eight years old; the perfect age for my dog to finally have a companion by his side. We had been begging our parents for months now, making the argument that Boomer, our Golden Retriever, felt “lonely during the school day.” In addition, we’d noticed our playful pooch becoming less active, and even gaining more pounds every time we weighed him, which could easily have been fixed if he had a friend to keep him active.

They were not the type of parents to give us a direct “no,” and in reality, they could not think of a valid reason not to buy a new dog. We were oblivious to the prominent financial toll and time investment of having a young puppy. We were slowly able to convince our parents, but it took a lot of effort and research and even then, the decision was not up to us.

One day, our parents told us we would be greeted with a surprise when our Grandma came home, but none of us knew what it would be. With each car that went past our house and around the cul de sac, my siblings and I all went up to the front window to see if it was her. Hours of pure excitement passed with no sightings of Grandma, but as the excitement turned into doubt, the hopeful smiles on our parents’ faces reminded us that we would not be disappointed.

Our brief moment of silence was interrupted by a joyous screech from my sister and a loud “Oh my god” from my brother as we danced in circles.

Suddenly, the silver Subaru took a left turn into our driveway. Time stood still as my Grandma opened the back door and reached in to get something. With her right hand, she pulled out a rope. It did not look like anything special, but she was making motions of communication towards the inside of her car. The purple rope began to move without my grandma even touching it. Suddenly, she gave up, dropped the rope, and picked up. She set it on the ground and everyone in the house was speechless. It began to stumble up the driveway, and with some assistance, showed up at our front door.

We all looked at each other in knowledge, but disbelief of what we saw. Our brief moment of silence was interrupted by a joyous screech from my sister and a loud “Oh my god” from my brother as we danced in circles. We all went outside to greet our new family member; a mix between a Labradoodle and a Springer spaniel; a “Springerdoodle.” At first, I did not know the breed, but when his luscious coat of black and white fur filled up my hands, what mattered to me the most was whether he could stay or not.

“Jasper. I think that would be a great name.”

Boomer was not as accepting as we thought he would be at first, and while he barked, growled, and tried to attack the little one, I could see the smile on my mum’s face quickly turning into an expression of instant regret. She wondered if they would ever be able to live together, but we reminded her that Boomer was not familiar with visitors, and got less attention than usual, so this was a predictable immediate reaction.

We wrote a list of names and tried to eliminate as many as we could. We were finally down to five names left, and we decided that since our grandma was the rightful owner, she would make the final choice. My siblings and I ran up the stairs like a small herd of elephants, not used to having the new puppy, who began to bark nonstop in the basement where he stayed in a cozy cage. Suddenly, before we could even knock on her door, the lock released, and the door opened, and on the other side stood our grandma, who had a proud smile across her face.

“Jasper. I think that would be a great name.”

None of us could deny it, Jasper was the perfect name for the new Springerdoodle; better than any of the names left on our list, so we crumpled that paper up and went downstairs to welcome Jasper into our family. As expected, we underestimated the annoyance of a near one-month-old puppy, but we did our best to ignore the aggravating sounds, and instead looked forward to the bright future ahead for our family.

It did not take too long for Jasper to get a feel for his new home. In almost no time, he was coexisting happily with Boomer, and allowed us to sleep without waking up multiple times to the noise of his howl. He and Boomer played all day long, whether it was tug of war or wrestling. Boomer usually won, but not only was he teaching Jasper the roots of doghood: he was enjoying himself much more than before. Time flew by while the two generations of pets maintained a fully functioning household, and their love for each other eliminated all doubt that we had made the right decision.

While Boomer was in a new world of mud puddles, treats, and plenty of friends, Jasper stepped into the role as the “big dog in the house.”

Sadly, a few months into what had become a strong, brotherly bond, Boomer got sick and was put down at the vet to end his suffering and send him to a better place. It was a solemn time for not only me and my family but also for Jasper, who had no idea where his loyal companion had gone. While Boomer was in a new world of mud puddles, treats, and plenty of friends, Jasper stepped into the role as the “big dog in the house.”

He always made sure to keep the house under control by maintaining the crazy nature of our three cats, keeping them from breaking anything or killing the frog. In addition, we have a small history of break-ins, but none since his arrival, so he has learned to protect our family through any instance of danger that may occur throughout the day. He also makes sure to greet us from the upstairs window by howling when we pull into our driveway to let us know he is ready to spring into action.

When I grow up I am sure I will be uneasy about the purchase of a young puppy just like my parents were, but when I remember the benefits of owning a loyal companion, the question will be non-existent.

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.

This is a guest essay by Oliver Burdick. Want to write for us? Visit www.dogstodaymagazine.co.uk/essay-submission or email editorial@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk

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