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Article ID: 11556

VoxAcct: 260024

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

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An Enduring Life-Saving Friendship

Author: Ellena Dawne
Posted: August 12th. 2007
Times Viewed: 1,937

This is a story of best friends and the friendship they share. The kind of friends that everyone wishes they had in their life. The kind of friendship that once built, whether instantaneously or slowly over time, lasts forever. Even after death.

Before I get into the telling of this story too far I do wish to mention that this story is: number one- true, number two- very emotional for me to tell and number three- really about my dog.

I know what you are thinking. “Don’t tell me this woman wrote a story about her dog being her best friend and I am actually going to sit here and continue reading it?”

Let me answer you this way: YES I DID and YES YOU WILL!!!

I promise you that you won’t regret it once you have finished because even if you hate the story you will be able to say, “I was right! I shouldn’t have wasted my time!”

Soxy was a little shaggy black and brown mutt. We named her Soxy because all four paws were white and it looked like she had little bobby socks on. We got her when I was about seven years old after my very first dog, Ginger, died of severe allergies.

Needless to say I was very attached to Ginger, who was a beautiful Irish Setter that was as peaceful and patient with children as any dog I have seen since. Obviously, I did not take kindly to this little yappy, overly energetic, scraggy looking dog taking her place. Even more infuriating to me at the time was how quickly she won over the rest of my family.

My little 5-year-old brother fell in love immediately, like Ginger never existed. He was five, I told myself, what did he know. He was way too immature, he did not fully grasp the concept of death and that my, no.... our, beloved Ginger was gone, never to return. (I’ve had a flair for the dramatic ever since I was conceived, sadly!)

And my dad, oh Father how could you!! Yes even the big, strong hero I had, (mistakenly), pegged my Dad for at the time was mushy and all puppy talk when Soxy was around.

Well, anyway, I still could rely on my mother. Of all the members of my family living in my home at that time, my mother was surely the one to count on for support. She would be my comrade in mourning, yes; Mom was certainly the one to understand that you could not just replace a dear family member with a new one and call it a day.

You know where I am going with this, right? Yep, you got it! She was just as instantly enamored with Soxy as the rest of my fickle clan.

I spent the next few weeks protesting, being short with everyone, showing no respect to my family at all and just being an overall brat. Obviously, if they had no loyalty to family members, I would hold none to them. I could have died, just like Ginger, and then they would have made another baby, or bought another baby or borrowed the next door neighbors’ daughter whenever they felt like the presence of a little girl was needed, (like I said- dramatic flair)! No thank you I did not want to be a member of any family that thinks its members are expendable. I would bide my time for the next eleven years then I was out of there.

About one month after Soxy came to live with us, my father, who I neglected to mention was in the Army, had to leave for one of his many temporary assignments. He was to be gone for about 4 months. Now my mother and father had many problems as far as their marriage was concerned but fidelity was by far the largest. It usually was my father who played the part of the philandering spouse and I suppose my mother saw this as her optimal opportunity to cheat for herself.

Maybe it was because she had started a new job, in her newly chosen career field and was meeting new people, grown people, grown men who were interested in her as a woman, as a sexy woman and not as “mommy” or “hey where are my bdu’s”.

Who really knows, why she jumped at this chance to be with someone outside of the marriage and not the other hundred times that came before.

I doubt she would even be able to give you a precise answer.

So now I have a larger enemy, my mother’s boyfriend, appropriately named Hunter. I say it was an appropriate name for many reasons but only one will be revealed in this story.

Resenting Soxy had to be put on hold for a while, as I had to deal with the new interloper and figure out how to keep my family together. Yes, I still hated them for abandoning Ginger and her memory, but I could even admit that I did need them for at least those eleven years until I could split, so I hated Hunter even more for threatening that.

After about a month of secret rendezvous’ and late night visits, that I think they were trying to hide but failed miserably at, the adulterous couple decided to leave their respective spouses, (yes Hunter was married with three children of his own) and move to a new city together for a start at a new life.

We packed up what we could and left the Army base with no note or anything else left for my dad. Now, everyone knew my dad was a big cheater but he never went this far. He used women for sex and was then done with them.

I still to this day argue with my brother over what type of infidelity is worse, sexual or the emotional type, which is what my mother was guilty of in this instance.

We moved to the new city they had picked and were told that a new exciting life awaited us. Once we found a house and stopped living out of a hotel room bigger trouble found its way into our lives.

“Bigger trouble”, you say “How can that be?” and “Didn’t you say you were going to tell a story about a dog?” Patience please, I will get there and you will see the connections.

Anyway, Hunter became severely abusive as soon as we found that house. That house happened to be in a lower income section of town and there was tons of family violence going on in our new neighborhood.

I told one of the first girls I met about how my new step-whatever was beating my mom and my brother and me and she outdid me with a story about her Uncle using an iron to beat her because she interrupted his card game to ask if she could go to the bathroom, then proceeded to show me the scars.

I really didn’t know what to do or who to talk to. I suppose I was still too young to realize what was truly going on.

We got beat and verbally abused all of the time for random things. The second time I got beat for not cleaning my plate and watched as my mother get beat for allowing me to not clean my plate, I went upstairs and Soxy followed me. I sat down on my bed, which happened to be a sleeping bag on the floor because Hunter felt I did not need a bed, that was just going “to spoil her and she is already too much of that”, he would say. So, I sat on my bed and cried and cried and cried. I think I may have cried 90% of my tears that night because it takes a lot to make me cry now.

I would get beat more than anyone else in the household, I think because my dramatic flair annoyed Hunter and because it also meant I could be quite outspoken. Which I suppose did not sit well with an abusive control freak -- to be beating me, a seven year old, while I was mouthing off the whole time. Where was I?

Yes, so began a new routine. I would get beat and then I would go off somewhere private and release anyway I could and Soxy would be right behind me. When I came home from school Soxy was there waiting for me. She was small, so I think she knew she could not protect me physically but she would never leave my side from the moments I stepped into the doorway of that house to the moments I stepped back out, she was with me.

She stood by glaring at Hunter as he hurled insults, fists or whatever else was handy at me. Soxy never once turned away. She soaked it all in. She withstood the sight of it all for me because she knew the physicality of it was already too much for me to process. Soxy never once attacked Hunter but she would never leave me alone especially if he was in the house.

I t got to the point that if someone else was being abused in another room of the house she would look up at me and prance back and forth and I knew that meant we should go, together, to go check on my mom or brother, whoever was getting it.

Since it did get to this point Hunter was not blind to it. He saw how much Soxy meant to me now and he decided the easiest way to teach me and my smart mouth a lesson about respect was to eliminate Soxy.

Now, when I say eliminate, I mean eliminate. He did not sell her, give her away, take her to the pound or even throw her to the streets. He made me sit at the kitchen table and watch as he poured rat poison into a dish, mixed it with her favorite canned food and placed the dish in her feeding spot.

I may have cried the last 10% of my tears as he called Soxy from underneath my legs at the table, to where he was at her dish. She started to go toward him, and then she stopped.

My heart leapt for a moment; maybe she was really smart enough not to eat it, maybe she understood what was going on and she would refuse. That lift in my heart was temporary because she turned her head toward me and looked up at my face.

She began prancing back and forth and I knew what she was saying, I can still here her in my head to this day “It is my turn to get beat, thank you for being here with me. I know what will happen to me once I eat this, yet I will eat this.

Your pain will be over once he thinks he has won. I will die but I am always with you.

This chapter of your life is almost over. Thank you dear friend for being with me now.”

Soxy ate her food and about twenty minutes later received her unjust punishment for being a little girl’s best friend. She went into convulsions as I held her in my arms on the sofa. She leapt from my arms, froth pouring out of her mouth and tried to run away to hide.

She ran because she didn’t want me to see, not because she wanted to die alone.

My brother was crying uncontrollably because he had no idea what was wrong with her.
My mother came home from work to a seven year old holding a dead dog, consoling a five year old and a boyfriend sitting on the sofa laughing, eating Count Chocula while he watched The Dukes of Hazzard.

We left that night.

Thanks Soxy. I love you girl.


Ellena Dawne

Location: Goldsboro, North Carolina

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