Sandy’s Lesson

Describe a situation when you learned an important life lesson from someone you know.

There is a special bond that forms between a dog and its owner. Sandy and I were no exception. That was why I wasn’t really surprised when my mom told me the news. In a way, I already knew. My family got Sandy when I was six, so she was a part of the family for as long as I can remember. She was like the sister I never had. When she was diagnosed with cancer, I was sad, but I wasn’t really surprised. She had not been the same for the past few months. The veterinarian told us that recovery was unlikely. It seemed that Sandy did not have long to live. I resolved to spend as much time with her as possible over the next few weeks.The weekend Sandy died was cold and quiet. The house was empty except for my mom and me; my brother and my dad were both out of town. Sandy somehow knew that it was her time. Late Saturday night, she disappeared. I realized that she must have gone outside and began searching the yard. Just when I was about to give up, I saw her hidden under a ledge and shivering from the cold. As I approached her, a faint smile appeared briefly on her face until it was again replaced by pain. I picked her up and brought her inside. Once Sandy was safe and warm, my mom and I talked about what to do next. Sandy understood that it was her time. She had gone outside to die. As hard as it was for us to accept that, we knew what she needed. I convinced my mom through tears that the best thing we could do for Sandy was to put her down. At eight the next morning, my mom and I drove Sandy to the vet’s office. I carried her into one of the back rooms. The vet told us that we were making the right decision and asked if we wanted to spend some time with her before she was put down. The look on Sandy’s face reinforced what the nurse had said about it being the right thing to do. At that point, I lost it. I cried harder than I ever had before. Saying goodbye to your best friend for the last time is never easy. Sandy was the best friend I could have had. She truly accepted me for who I was. Only rarely do people have the same loyalty or ability to love unconditionally. Sandy was therefore not only my best friend, but also one of my most influential teachers. In her final moments, I don’t think Sandy had any fears or regrets. I think she felt only a sense of conclusion. Sandy accepted that she was part of the continuous cycle of life and knew that the cycle was moving on. In that way, she was smarter than any human. Because of Sandy, I have come to believe that life is a circle: we live to die and die to let others live. In that way, death is beautiful. It didn’t make it any easier to walk out of the vet’s office without her, but even then, I knew that Sandy’s last lesson was perhaps her most important.

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