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    No matter what happens in life, no matter what, I'll always love my dog.

    My best friend, my buddy. He's the best, he's better than any human could ever be.

    Sixteen years on this earth, and it wasn't enough, it'll never be enough.

    But in those sixteen years, he lived the best life any dog could have.

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    When I adopted him, I was a little kid, an 8 year old who very very adamantly loved cats. I carried a cat plushie around with me everywhere.

    That year, I carried my cat plushie with me to my great grandpa's funeral. I was small, young enough to understand loss. Prior to his passing away, we'd stayed two months in California, to be with him until the end. We weren't there when it happened, but we got to spend some amazing time with my grandpa, memories I'll cherish forever.

    When I was 8, just coming back home from the funeral, my cat Lucky was hit by a car. We took him to the vet, and they said there was nothing to do but sit with him until the end. We brought him home, put him on a bed, and little me pet his head until he took his last breath.

    After so much loss, my parents decided we were done with cats, with so much pain and grief, it was time to try another pet. A dog. So we went to an animal shelter, where a small Jack Russel Terrier caught me eye. Hyperactive and tiny and brightly colored, he seemed like an okay dog. But, it wasn't meant to be. We adopted him, and were told to come back the next day after he'd had his shots.

    My mom drove me, skeptical 8 year old me, wary of these large barking animals that wagged their tails excitedly instead of being calm and collected like cats, to the shelter the next day. School had just let out. I had a miniature bag of Lays chips and was eating them in the front seat of the car.

    By the time we got there, apparently, someone had adopted "our" dog. Rude.

    The shelter begged for us to take a pick of another dog--in fact, they had this wonderful puppy. You see, he was in this fancy glass room. There was a nice pillow on the floor, and some kibble laying around. Boy, he sure must be special if he gets this big room all to himself, huh kiddo?

    The shelter worker didn't tell me, but the reason the dog had this big glass room was because he shook terribly if he was in a cage. He was the only puppy out of his family of six to not be adopted. The mother was adopted sooner than this weirdo shakey dog. The dog's name was Nikki.

    Dubiously, I walked into the room. "Nikki" backed away from me, afraid. I sat down on the messy floor, I can still remember how the whole room looked after so many years, and the dog approached me slowly. I reached my hand out to pet him, and instead of leaning into the pat, he ducked, lunged at my sweatshirt pocket, and shoved his dog snout into my bag of chips. He pulled away chomping at potato chips happily.

    On that day, that dog met his best friend.

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    Me, on the other hand, was upset. This dumb animal just stole my lunch!! I paid 99 cents for those chips, give them back!

    My mom was laughing. She told them we'd take the dog home immediately.

    But that name just had to go.

    As we drove home, I sat in the back seat next to the cage with the shaking chip thief. Every bump the car made, the dog whined and cried, and given that my mom drove a beat-up 1998 Geo Metro, there were a LOT of bumps on the way home...

    The moment we got him home, my dad was excited. He took one look at the dog and cheered that my mom finally decided to make a good choice and pick a dog. Dogs were way better than cats! He ruffled the dog's fur, and he barked in reply.

    A few moments later, he peed all over the living room carpet.

    And that's how he got his name--Nopey. No pee.

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    It's a dumb name--no one ever understood what it was. "Nokey? Hopey? Why did you name your dog that?" It was awkward to explain and hardly anyone thought it was as funny as 8 year old me did. But I still liked it. Nopey! I'd yell at him, and he'd look at me, turn his little head, and wag his tail. He had no idea his name was being called, but he liked being talked to!

    Years would pass, and for every milestone, my dog was there for it. Graduating elementary school graduating middle school, skipping high school graduation and laughing at how overblown it all was. Nopey was there when my family called and told me I should be going to college already. He was there for every joy, every sadness, every single moment in my life.

    When the hurricane hit and destroyed my home, Nopey was there in my lap. He sat with me on the couch as it began to float along the 6ft of water. I carried him to the kitchen counter--the highest place in the house. When the boat came by to rescue us, I yelled from the window, I begged the guy on the boat, please please don't leave yet. Please save my dog! The man laughed. Of course I can take your dog!

    We stayed overnight at an elementary school, having lost all our possessions. I slept on the cafeteria floor, I took a donated shirt and put it on my dog, so he wouldn't be cold. He slept cuddled next to me in this scary new place, but it was okay cuz we were together.

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    Nopey and I were always together. To the end, I was there for him. I loved him so much, I loved him so so much.

    I feel broken, I feel hurt, I feel destroyed. I feel numb. I feel too much.

    I know the pain will lessen in time, I know it'll get easier--it'll never go away, never, though. I'll always remember my best friend, my little buddy. Forever. Always. And I'll never regret even a second of it all.

    Thank you Nopey. Thank you for every moment we had together. I love you.

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