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| Thursday, November 29, 2018

The only thing my dog was practically good for was replacing our broken doorbell.

For as long as I can remember, growing up in my house meant missing visitors, because our doorbell never worked, and for some reason no one fixed it. It was not uncommon to be alerted of someone’s presence by a phone call of someone angrily waiting on our porch. When I began begging my parents for a puppy, the idea of this technological function did not even cross my mind, but after getting Rosie when I was 10 years old, it became clear pretty quickly that the days of banging on the door to get our attention were over.

When other parents would come to pick me up for various sports practices and theater rehearsals in middle school, not only would they not have to knock, they could stay in their cars and wait. Sure enough, from the basement to the attic, a frantic barking could be heard before they even finished pulling in, and I’d know it was time to leave.

In high school, my brother and I were always busy with school, sports and friends, and it was hard to spend any time together as a family. With Rosie, however, we were always forced to be aware of our mom or dad coming home from a long day of work, because there was our faithful hound, leaping with excitement and wagging her tail ridiculously fast before the cars would even turn onto our street. She knew her best friends were coming home, and it was hard for us to resist at least some of the excitement. As they opened the door, they could usually find my brother or I laughing at the dog’s antics, and happy to see them home.

As most college students figure out, you miss your dog more than just about anything else when you leave home for the first time, and I was no exception. I lived for visits home, because I knew she would be there, nose pressed against the front window as I pulled up. As an opened the door and was exposed a jumping, scratching and licking beast, my mom would, without fail, mention that she had been getting excited all afternoon, as if she somehow could sense that I was coming home that day. Used to the independence of college, I would go out with high school friends to local bars and hangouts, often at an hour frowned upon by my parents. If I had any ideas of sneaking in the front door, Rosie would put them to rest with a chorus of barking and howling that woke up the whole house.

This August, a week before I left for school, we received shocking news that resulted in us having to say an unexpected goodbye to our beloved friend of 11 years. While I was devastated, the fact that I left for school so quickly dulled the blow, as I could just imagine she was still at home. This Thanksgiving was my first time home since summer, the impact of her death really hit me.

When it came time to go out my first night back, I found myself telling my friends to “text me when they are here,” so I would know to come let them in. 10 years later, back to the silence of a broken doorbell.

This is my annual Thanksgiving PSA to appreciate what you have — I am so thankful for my friends, my family and my time with the (irrefutably) best dog on the planet.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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