Submission by Yusef Toomer

Once upon a time, there was a family of four. There was a mom, a dad, a brother and a sister. The mom’s name was Jennifer, the dad’s name was Robert, the brother’s name was Kyle and the sister’s name was Lisa. They lived in a two-story house, and the people in the house loved each other. However, they had a conflict when it came to animals. 

It started way back in school. Kyle was in the fourth grade, and his sister Lisa was in the second grade. Kyle was two years older than Lisa, and so she looked up to him. Lisa was in science class one Tuesday morning, and she and the other students were going to do an experiment with organisms.

Lisa was squeamish. She didn’t like the sight of things that were unpleasant, especially blood. The least bit would bother her. She didn’t like bugs, insects or any other animals that lived in nature. So, one of the students in the group, wanting to see how she would react, purposely put the tarantula on Lisa just to mess with her. Lisa went berserk. She started screaming and hollering. 

“Get it off me! Get it off me! Get it off me!”

Lisa could not control herself. She began to lose it in front of all the other kids in the classroom. The teacher, Mrs. Collins, came over, doing her best to help her. Lisa was visibly bothered and clearly had arachnophobia, a complete fear of spiders. Her brother Kyle hadn’t necessarily thought much about her fear and or how to prevent it. 

Like many other students, Lisa never really liked science. She didn’t care to do experiments, and she sure didn’t like spiders at all. That being said, Lisa knew in order to succeed and pass science class, she had to overcome her fear of spiders, bugs and any other creepy crawling organisms. 

Ever since Lisa was very young, she had a fear of small organisms and things that lived outside. She feared even discussing it with other people. She did not like when people surprised her, especially with crawly things she didn’t condone. She felt as if they would attack her, and they made her the most uncomfortable she had ever felt.

Lisa still enjoyed school, she just didn’t enjoy science. But then again, who does? Neither her brother nor her parents would help her. She was afraid, but no one helped her. 

On a beautiful Wednesday afternoon, Lisa’s family went to a local animal shelter. There were lots of animals there such as dogs, cats, rabbits, squirrels and other animals to be adopted as a pet. Out of those options, Lisa’s favorite was a dog. She would prefer a dog over anything else. Later that day her family made it happen, and Lisa’s dream came true. Her family was able to give her the dog she always wanted. A dalmatian, in particular; Lisa loved dalmatians after all. The dog possessed something special. It had something different about it, something other dog breeds didn’t have. It calmed her fears like nothing else would. Lisa had a special gift and an admiration for animals, so her appreciation for this dog immediately clicked, even at a young age. 

Many things made this dog special to Lisa, and nothing could calm her nerves like it. She started doing everything with the dog: walking it, feeding it, taking care of it, making sure its nutritional needs were met and even trying to talk to it. Lisa had gained such a strong foundation of love and respect for the dog. Lisa didn’t care who liked it or what anyone said, it was her best friend, and she adored the pet so much that it became not just a part of her life — it was her life. 

Having to deal with what she dealt with made Lisa stronger than ever because she knew if she had her dog, she could overcome anyone or anything. She felt empowered. That’s why it was a part of her life. She needed to have it go with her to events, to plays, to school, at home, outside with other dogs and doing activities and such. It was very much a part of her everyday life, and the two became inseparable. We often hear of a dog being man’s best friend. Well, that was what it was like for Lisa. 

Though Lisa loved the dog, her family did not approve. The dog had become a distraction, and Lisa’s grades started to drop. She had become so enamored with the pet that her grades were failing. She hadn’t prioritized her grades, and they suffered for it. That being said, she was not going to go back to where she was before she had the dog. In many ways, it changed her life because it gave her a sense of purpose and passion in life that she hadn’t received anywhere else. Even her parents didn’t show her the attention that the dog gave her, for the dog actually felt the synergy between them. 

Although Lisa was in school, she didn’t necessarily care about her grades or the friends she made because her dog was by her side. Unfortunately, she couldn’t have the dog at school. In other words, she had to make a choice. Lisa was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Either she had to drop school or keep the dog. In other words, she had to decide between the dog she loved and what her parents told her to do.  For Lisa, it was an easy choice. She chose the dog over school. 

Her parents couldn’t believe it. They were outraged. Lisa’s parents felt as if she was putting a dog over her future. They weren’t going to have it. This disappointed Lisa because she wanted her parents to always love and support her decisions, no matter what. 

It just so happened that Lisa wasn’t ready to give up her dog because she loved it. No matter what her parents or anyone else may have said, Lisa wanted the dog to always be a part of her life. It was such an amazing and exciting time in her life because she had so much energy, love, and passion for it and the dog was in its formative years to where she could play with it and enjoy its presence. 

However, the dog Lisa had was previously owned by someone else. It was the neighbor’s dog that just happened to end up at the shelter. Unfortunately for Lisa, she had to return the dog to its rightful owner. As tough as the decision was, she had to do it because the dog belonged to someone else. 

This was incredibly difficult for Lisa because she had dropped out of school to be with the dog. Luckily for her, she returned to school, so not all hope was lost. 

The End 

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