February 2003
French articles
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The Most Important Reason of All
By Eleni A., Grade 9, Fredericton High, Fredericton, NB

I can't say I've ever fallen in love with someone, since I haven't, but I know I love my family, even if I sometimes don't like them. I have had many pets that I have loved and cared for but it wasn't until I got my second springer spaniel that I was ever consciously aware of anything going from "like" to "love."

At the beginning of last summer, the first dog I ever owned had to be put to sleep. It tore me up inside because from the moment I first saw him, he was all I ever wanted. Not having a springer in the house left a void in my heart that made everything seem bleak and unimportant. My mom decided that we would get another springer.

When I met Bart, he wasn't in the best condition. He had been brought to Fredericton from St. Stephen and as we soon learned, got carsick easily. After he was cleaned up, he was an amazingly handsome dog that could win points easily for being cute. He slept in my room and became very attached to me. He followed me everywhere, including right into the shower.

I was touched by his devotion and really happy to have him but something was missing. I don't know if it was because I missed my other dog, who had always been in our house, or just that he had yet to find his place in our home. I wasn't the only one having problems. Bart was afraid of Phil, my mom's live-in boyfriend, and Phil, being a dog lover, was hurt and couldn't connect.

One night though, I went to sleep and had a terrifying dream. It wasn't a nightmare but it still makes me panic to think about it. We had brought Bart home, but we were only foster parenting him until owners could be found. My mom was searching hard to find him a family and I was working harder to convince her we were it.

It was the day Bart's new owners were coming to get him and I turned to my last resort. I decided to come up with a list of ten reasons why Bart should stay and present them to my mom. My first reason was that he was already extremely attached to me and it would be hard to break him of it. My second was that he'd already been with us for so long that he was already at home. And then I began to panic, I couldn't think of another good, strong reason why he should stay. I wrote what was in my heart, "Because I love him".

Just as I realized that, my mom was about to hand Bart's leash to his new owners. Before the leash reached their hand, I woke up and Bart was safely asleep beside me. I hugged him tight and went back to a calm dreamless sleep. The next day, I worked Bart into my plans for the future, counting on him to be there.

I once asked my mom what her definition of love was and she said that it was not being able to picture your life without them. From the moment I woke up there was no life without Bart, there was only life with him. I know I'll have him forever because now he sits in the part of my heart next to the one that keeps my first dog alive in memory.


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