The story of my beloved big brown dog

February 4, 2020

Here’s the story of a big brown dog. This big brown dog’s name was Nayeli. It seems hard to pronounce at first, but it is pronounced “Nay Ellie” so eventually, you get the hang of it. We adopted Nayeli from the sweetest family ever. She was the lightest colored of the litter of Newfoundland except for the silver one, and we did debate about which one to get. They were both so cute. Finding a silver Newfoundland is very rare, but we could only afford one dog because Newfoundlands are very expensive. We ended up with Nayeli and paid about $1,200 for her. 

In the process of getting Nayeli, we met her dad and mom. Her mom was an average female Newfoundland size — a little over 100 pounds Her dad, on the other hand, was tremendous — 200 pounds..

While my mom chatted with Nayeli’s breeder, my sisters and I took her in our car. We were all smothering her because we all wanted to hold her. I mean it was an eight-week old puppy, so what do you expect teenage girls to do?   

When we got Nayeli, we had no idea what to name her. When we looked up big female dog names, we found suggestions like Bear, Willow, Brownie, Bubbles, Scarlet, Luna, Maggie and Coco. But we thought all of them were too common and we wanted our dog’s name to be special and meaningful. We wanted a name to remember. My sisters and I decided to give her a unique name that was from the Annaashinabii language, which is part of our heritage as we are native Americans. We would know what her name went, but others wouldn’t. They would just think it’s a creative name. We decided on Nayeli because it means “I love you.”

We had so many amazing memories with Nayeli. We took random last minute road trips with her to Moomers for ice cream and downtown. We played tug of war. We had her model for us so we could take beautiful pictures of her that we will always cherish.

But on January 11, something tragic happened. We let Nayeli out. We knew she sometimes went in the road, but she was getting better. That weekend we had planned to  get an electric fence around my yard to keep her safe so she could play outside peacefully. But it was going to be too late.

My sister saw a car pull in and a lady running to our front door. We all rushed to the door anxiously, and the lady was sobbing as we opened the door. She asked, “Do you guys have a big brown dog?” My mom tried to say yes but what came out instead was, “Did you hit her?” in a worried voice. My family was having a relaxing Sunday so we were still all in pajamas and sweatshirts. But we didn’t necessarily care at the moment. We ran out and saw our dog laying on the side of the road.

When my family and I saw her, our hearts shattered into what felt like a million pieces. My mom told my 14-year-old sister to pull the car around so we could put her in the trunk and take her to the vet. But as it was Sunday, nothing was open. She died during the drive.

This tragic event had changed my life. Since my family are Christians and believe in God, I didn’t quite understand why God had to take away something so important to us, especially to my mom. We spent the day crying and looking at pictures of Nayeli. I felt like I couldn’t physically do anything or function even. I couldn’t shower because she would be there every time trying to drink the shower water. I couldn’t eat because she would always be there to beg me for my food. I couldn’t even go out to my living room because she would always be in the way and I would be tripping over her.

I still look for her when I come home. I haven’t gotten used to her being gone yet. So in Nayeli’s memory, cherish your animals and give them the best life while they are still around.

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