My name is Jack. From the time I was 4 months old, my mom and dad and I would spend every weekend enjoying the outdoors. We lived in Florida, so there were plenty of places to go. We’ve got pictures of us hiking on nature trails and lounging on sunny beaches. As I got older, my dad taught me how to play frisbee. He said I was a natural. We added picnics in wide open fields to our travels, and my dad and I would play frisbee for hours while mom watched and clapped her hands. On the way home, we’d often have the windows rolled down while the warm air blew through our hair. At night, we’d snuggle on the couch and watch movies. Before we went to bed, they’d always tell me how much they loved me. I was always so happy.
The summer I turned 8 was when things started to change. We didn’t go on our weekend outings as regularly, and instead of snuggly family movie nights, mom and dad would yell at each other. I didn’t know what was happening, but I was scared. I missed my loving family. Why had it changed? Was it something I did? Was there something I could do? I’d do anything to make mom and dad happy again.
One Saturday morning, my dad called me to the car. He had the frisbee! We were going out. Maybe everything was going to be OK again. I was so excited and I couldn’t get into the car fast enough. Soon, mom, dad and I were on our way with the windows rolled down just like the good old days. We drove for a long time and finally got to a place with a bunch of trees and water. The sign said “Everglades”. Dad and I got out of the car and he threw the frisbee. I ran as fast as I could to catch it. The day was beautiful and I was oh so happy! I noticed that mom hadn’t gotten out of the car, yet, but Dad was ready to throw the frisbee again. This time it went way over my head and I had to run into the trees to find it. It took me a few minutes, but I emerged from the trees triumphantly. I didn’t see my dad. Maybe he got worried and had gone into the trees to help me find the frisbee. I started running back to where we parked. Something was wrong. Mom and dad were in our car, but they weren’t waiting for me…they were pulling away. Frisbee forgotten, I started chasing after them as fast as I could go. I was calling for them, but they weren’t stopping. I ran as far and as fast as I could, but they were soon out of my sight. I sank to the ground and started crying. What was happening? Why did they leave me? It had to be a mistake, didn’t it? Families don’t just leave like that.
I don’t know how long I sat there, but it started getting dark. A policeman came along and saw me, still sitting there staring at the place our car disappeared. He talked to me softly and told me he would take me somewhere to be safe while we looked for my family. I got into his car, but there was no happiness on this ride into town.
We pulled up in front of a big building. He told me that this was a place where I would wait. I wasn’t alone, though. There were others just like me. Their families, moms and dads, brothers and sisters who had loved them, had left them, too. I was so scared and confused. We all were. None of us could figure out what we had done to make our families leave us. I cried the whole night…and I wasn’t alone in that, either.
My family didn’t come for me the next day or the next one after that. Other families must have come back, because one by one, those who had cried with me that first night would walk down the hall and never come back. Why isn’t my family coming back? Why am I still here alone? I’m just so scared.
One morning, someone came for me, They told me that they were there to walk me down the hall! It’s my family, I thought, they must have come for me. I was so happy. I hurried down the hall, but when the door opened there was no one there. It was an empty room. I turned to look at the man who had taken this walk with me, and he must have seen the questions in my eyes. “I’m sorry,” he said. I felt a sharp stab and thought that this must be how it feels to have your heart break. I started to cry for my mom and dad one last time, but my family never answered.
My name is Jack. I was 8 years old when my family deserted me. I had done nothing but love them my entire life. I would have given my life for them. In the end, I did.
There are thousands of stories like Jack’s. Please be a responsible pet owner.