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I love dogs, and I am terrified of them

When I saw first Terry, a Cairn terrier, I was nine years old and thought to myself, "I love you and want you to be happy forever." We did everything together, from taking walks to Terry begging me to play with her while I was going through mountains of homework. However, I never expected to be using past tense when talking about a dog who was seven last year.

My personal problem was trying to figure out if forgiveness for myself and my friends was an option after my friends and I failed to save my dog when a Newfoundland attacked her when we were trick-or-treating my junior year.

After the incident, I went through a flurry of emotions. I was angry at my friends because they did not stop in until a few minutes later, when they did we were able to get Terry out of the dog's mouth, but Terry succumbed to her injuries about a day later in an animal hospital. I know they were scared, but I feel that my friends should have stepped in sooner.  As for myself, I do not think the word devastation could even encompass what I felt after losing Terry. It did not help that wherever I went, for the first week, people looked at me like I was going to shatter at any moment. Yes, I cried often at first, but the looks of "Is Julia okay?" made me realize I was not going to find any normalcy anytime soon. When it came to resolving my feelings, the first step came on its own.

My first step towards figuring out if forgiveness was a possibility was by mistake. A month prior, I had signed to up to present the poem, "A Fixed Idea," by Amy Lowell in my English class, and I had to prepare it the day after my dog died. The poem talks about a bad moment ruining an entire memory, and the author relinquished the bad moment in the end. Even though forgiveness looked a lot easier to do on my computer screen than in real life, I knew I would have to move on to honor Terry's memory and to continue my relationships with my friends. Just as Lowell wrote, I had to try alleviate my feelings of guilt and blame, as they "[bound] my freedom from it's rightful quest (Lowell 13)."

Ultimately, I acknowledged what moving on meant to me, and took the steps to go forward in my life. I had to realize to me that moving on meant not holding a grudge against but not fully forgiving my friends and myself either, as I lost one of my best friends that night. Through the accident, I learned that I must give as much love to everyone who means something special to me, as I do not know when something horrible will happen. I am still moving on by giving all my love to a new dog, a Havanese named Lucky.