There’s a funny thing about love. Love can twist you and tie you in a knot. Love can make your heart burst and your eyes fill with tears, and love can make you so jubilant even when there’s a tornado outside. Love can bring you together and tear you apart. Love did all of these to me when my dog Breeze came along. I loved Breeze. He was my dog and we were inseparable. Now he is an image in my brain and an echo in my heart.
Back then we lived in the Crestfall Mountains. In winter, the tall mountains would be filled with white snow tops. The lakes would be covered in ice and the snow would fall lightly and gracefully, creating a winter wonderland. In summer, the waterfalls would release all their water, rushing down the stream and into the Garmelen River which flowed through my backyard. Crestfall Mountains was a beautiful place to live.
It was a cheerful November day when I first asked my parents about having a dog. I was eleven years old and in my life, all around me my friends had dogs to play with and take care of. They had dogs that could do tricks, dogs that could play catch, and dogs that could protect them. My friend Samuel even had a police dog because his father was a canine officer.
“Father?” I had asked. “Can I have a dog?” My father was a big man. He had short stubbles growing along the bottom of his mouth and his eyes were always cheerful and sparkling or dark and serious. Whenever he was happy, the whole world would be happy and the flowers outside would smile. Whenever he was angry, the birds would fly away, and the window panes seemed to shake thunderously.
My father pursed his lips. He obviously didn’t expect me to ask this question. To my surprise, he smiled and softly said, “Jay, if you think you’re ready for a dog, you may have one.” That day I was happier than ever before. My mother and father took me to a local shelter where I could pick a dog. There were several dogs and at first I had a hard time choosing. There was a dog with a spot over his left eye, a dog with fluffy ears, and many other dogs each better looking than the next. Finally, I spotted an Alaskan Husky in the back. He had sparkling gray eyes, fluffy brown fur, and when I saw him I knew he was perfect. I easily picked him. The next thing we had to do was name him. My mother, father, and I thought of names in the car ride back home.
Nothing was perfect enough for my beautiful new dog. I sighed and looked out the window. The wind was blowing lightly. A soft breeze drifted lightly all around the mountains. The breeze made the mountain air feel wonderful. Finally, I knew what I was going to name my dog. I jolted upright in my seat. “His name is Breeze,” I said.
My mother and father sighed happily. “It’s perfect, Jay!” my mother exclaimed.
Breeze and I became best friends fast. Every day while I was sleeping, Breeze would curl up in his dog bed and fall asleep. While I ate breakfast, Breeze ate breakfast. There were other things I learned about Breeze, besides being just like me. One day during my winter break Breeze and I went figure skating on Caramel Lake. The light shiny ice sparkled and every child that lived in our town was skating. I tied Breeze up against a bike rack and leaned down by his face. “I’ll be right back, boy. Please stay here and be a good dog.” Breeze’s ears twitched. I smiled and went off with some of my friends. It was twenty minutes later when I heard a loud, vociferous bark. My heart leaped. Was it Breeze that I heard? The bark became louder and louder. People stopped skating. Suddenly I was aware of a big splotch of water in the ice. The lake was melting! In the splotch of water was Breeze! I couldn’t believe my eyes. Breeze seemed to be gnawing on something. With a lift of his head Breeze pulled out a little boy.
Everyone rushed over to Breeze and little Jonny Tompson, who was soaking wet. He was the boy that Breeze had saved.
“I-I fell in-t-to the wa-te-r. The doggie sa-aved me.” Breeze stood confidently on the ice. Policemen in puffy uniforms rushed over to us.
“Is this your dog, kid?” a tall policeman asked.
“Yes,” I said quickly.
“Well, son. Your dog just saved that little boy’s life.” I was shocked. “But I tied my dog Breeze to that pole. How did he get out?”
The policeman shrugged. “He must have gnawed his way through the tether and pulled on the scarf of the little boy. Funny none of you people saw the boy. Your dog is so observant.”
I beamed. The cold day suddenly seemed warm and bright. People and family members of Jonny Tompson thanked me and came over to pat Breeze’s body or rustle his fur.
Breeze was always amazing at helping people. His watchful eyes saw things that even watchmen on the mountains couldn’t spot. Often, I would take a walk around our small town in the mountains with Breeze next to me. Every time Breeze would spot something going on. He spotted a crook stealing apples from Old Fisher Trechtin’s store. He spotted children falling off trees. Every place that Breeze had helped in some way, we were both given lots of thanks. Soon enough, we got calls from lots of people who had heard about Breeze. They said they would pay lots of money to have Breeze come and solve their problems.
One day in the deep path of winter, the snow was blowing harder than ever before. As my father came home from work, my mother quickly finished making dinner.
“Have you seen Breeze?” my father asked.
“No,” my mother said. “Let’s get dinner started anyway.” I agreed, assuming Breeze would come home in no time. But an hour later when the night sky appeared and the stars twinkled, Breeze wasn’t home. An alert came on the radio.
“Blizzard alert. Blizzard alert.” My father ran out the door as soon as he heard these words, tying his shoes as he left. We all knew that he was determined to find Breeze. In what seemed like four hours, my father walked through the door. His usual bright face was dark and gloomy. Bits and pieces of snow clung to his ears, nose, and mouth, making his face turn red. His snowsuit, that was usually bright green, was completely white. My father, whom I had known for eleven years, looked like a complete stranger who had gone out in the cold in a bathing suit.
“I couldn’t find Breeze. The dog is smart though and probably found shelter during the storm. The towns are completely covered in snow and ice. The main stores on Cocatuff Avenue have fallen. We need to make sure that we are in tight shelter.” My father spoke in a gruff sad tone. I cried and cried and begged my parents to let me go out to find Breeze. But no matter how much I begged them, my parents refused. Finally, giving up hope, I lay down on the couch while my mother rubbed my back and my father listened to the radio for more reports.
I felt my eyes flutter open. How long had it been? I jolted upright. “Mother?” My mother and father were sitting on the couch, their arms wrapped around each other and their eyes teary.
“Good morning, Jay,” my father said. “The blizzard storm stopped. Would you like to go into town with me to find Breeze?” I was relieved that the blizzard had ended but upset to find that Breeze still hadn’t come home.
“Yes,” I said quickly, and with that I put on my coat and boots and ran outside.
“C’mon, son,” my father said. “It’s about time we find Breeze.” I nodded and followed him. We went around and around the town. Signs had fallen and roofs were covered completely in snow. Everyone in town looked distraught and upset since the air was still freezing.
“I have an idea,” I said suddenly. “Breeze probably went to the old Rackshackle’s Cave because I showed it to him last week. It’s a good place for shelter.”
My father nodded. “Great idea, Jay.”
The two of us walked in silence around town to Rackshackle’s Cave. Finally, we reached the sheltered area. My heart jumped. I saw a fluffy brown dog with big eyes. I rushed over to it, my father close behind. Breeze was lying down in the cave, bits of rocks stuck inside of him. When he saw me his eyes were half-closed but he perked up. His body was deflated and blood was smeared all over him. I cried and cried as my father took us home, carrying Breeze in one arm and holding my hand in the other.
When we first got home my mother called the veterinarian, who came quickly. Looking at my paralyzed dog, she sighed and went over to examine Breeze. For a long time she sat by Breeze, nursing him. Time passed. The night went by as I slept on the couch next to Breeze. The veterinarian offered to stay the night so we housed her in the guest room. The morning also went by and all I did was sit by Breeze. He was alive, but there was a fear that he wouldn’t make it.
Months flew by. Before I knew it, it was spring. The warm air hugged my shoulders and the light breeze pinched my fingertips. I was sitting on the edge of the riverbank, my feet dangling into the Garmelen River. The cold icy water refreshed my feet. It was springtime, my favorite time of the year, but that year I wasn’t excited at all. Breeze was still suffering. Every day after school, I would come home to my precious dog, lying on the couch suffering. The only thing that relieved me was the little bud of hope that was planted in my heart. I heard my mother calling for snack. I sighed and stood up, running across the grassy meadows to my house.
When I reached my house I wiped my feet off and walked into the kitchen. “Jay,” my mother said, “Breeze’s eyes are closed. Do you think he’s OK?” I gasped, sprinting to the family room and plopping myself on the couch next to Breeze. My dog looked more paralyzed than ever.
“Call Father,” I told her.
My father arrived soon. He felt Breeze’s pulse. His eyes filled with tears. “He’s dead, son,” my father said. Instantly I burst into tears.
That time was hard for me to believe. Every day I would mope around and expect Breeze to curl up beside me. I couldn’t live without Breeze. I went through some awful stages. I was mad at Breeze, then guilty, then sad, then upset, then just miserable.
Time passed and everything changed. We moved away from Crestfall and into a big city. I made friends but was still upset every day when I had time to think. One day, I was sitting on my back porch and the light breeze was drifting by me. I heard Breeze’s cry. And I understood. I may not have Breeze with me, but I would always hear his soft sweet cry drift through the breeze, and his voice echo in my heart.