“John,” I whisper. “John are you up?” It was Christmas morning and I was waking everyone as I always do. My brother and I, well we wanted an Xbox, my little sister, she was probably too young to even know what she wanted, and my big sister… we all know what she wanted, a dog. My old dog Dakota was about 14 when he got put down. He was blind and nearly deaf. My mom got him after her and my dad got married. He had grey fur and never got bigger than a foot and a half. He had small beady eyes that almost made him look like a stuffed animal. Everyone said that he was so nice when he could hear and see, but all that I remember was him scratching, biting, and jumping on me. Although we did have our moments, you could easily tell that the only person who was really able to connect with him was my sister. She would cry everyday after he died it seemed like. There was a certain spot in all of our hearts for Dakota that had been lost when he passed.
Finally December came and all that she needed was a dog for Christmas. She pleaded and even said that she didn’t want any other presents. My parents, on the other hand never promised anything. There was no doubt that all of us missed Dakota, his soft, fluffy fur that we used to use as cushions and his small little body which was about half the size of my arm. But again, my sister just had a special connection. I was partially affected by the passing of my dog, but I was too young to really understand.
When Christmas morning finally came and my sister only saw two presents under the tree, she was sure she had gotten the dog. But we searched everything from the green pillows to behind the couch and nothing was found. I was beginning to have my doubts. We waited and waited for our parents to surprise us but nothing happened. Finally they just said it, “We didn’t get you guys a dog.” My brother and I sat there in shock while my sister sobbed. In the kitchen I saw her crying and begging in the kitchen. I was just stunned that my parents could be so unthoughtful. They didn’t even feel any sympathy for her. But then my mom quickly whispered something to my dad that I wasn’t quite able to catch. He then strolled into the garage and came back in less than 20 seconds with what looked like a large snowball. He then put it down on the ground as it unfurled into almost a spitting image of Dakota. Maybe a little smaller because it was a puppy and the fur lighter but it still had those small little beady eyes that just made it irresistible. When my sister saw this dog her tears of pain turned into happiness and she started hugging and thanking my mom and dad. Of course my brother and I got our Xbox and we jumped around and hugged and were just about as happy as my big sister. Even my little sister managed a little giggle. And for the first time since Dakota died my whole family was just purely happy. Not worrying about school or work or anything, not a care in the world. For the first time we were all just smiling and laughing and grateful for what we had, each other.