| Lucia Chappell
Jago! Where are you?!" I am screaming at the top of my lungs.
can hear the background noise of others shouting similar words. I knew this was a bad idea! Where could he
be? He couldn't have gotten far in such little time. The tears streaming down
my face might freeze soon if I keep this up. I feel the cold lurking at the tip
of my nose. The tops of my ears feel like they will fall off if I stay out any
longer. I don't allow myself to think about these things. All I can think about
is finding Jago. I won't let anyone give up before the night is over. I am determined to find him before I go to
bed. I will find him before I go to bed! At least that is what I tell
I will go back and explain myself. It all started on a (what I thought to be)
normal camping trip. It is the afternoon on a Saturday and we just motored our
skiff over from the harbor, to Moose Meadows. We rode for about thirty minutes
to get to our destination. I am glad when we finally arrive on solid ground.
Come get one more!" I hear my dad holler.
jog back to the boat to haul more dripping dry bags up the rocky beach. I set
out to gather driftwood for our campfire. I smell the fresh scent of salt and
seaweed. I hear the grass crunching under my sneakers. I am thinking about how
I'm going to eat s'mores tonight. I space off while daydreaming about the
fluffy, golden brown marshmallows. I see my dog, Jago, running joyfully on the
rocky beach. Jago is a very old dog, but he is energetic. One more thing about
Jago is, he is very afraid of
fireworks. But, I don't think that will be a problem on this camping trip. Jago
looks so free and happy.
Come here good boy!" I say in a high baby voice.
watch as he comes bounding my way with joy in his eyes. I can see his black fur
glint in the sun. His white patches, scattered around his body, look like spots
of snow on a black canvas.
night we light a fire and huddle around it. I watch the glowing flames as I
shovel my food into my mouth. The heat from the fire spreads throughout my
face. I look up through the smoky air. I see a man I do not know. Who is he?
The adults seem to know him. What is his name? I hold onto these thoughts in my
head. I want to ask someone, but I am too shy. I just sit there thinking of
later learn that the new man's name is Matt and he is a family friend's new
boyfriend. He seems nice, but I am still shy. I wonder if he will ever become
as close to my family as his girlfriend.
we all eat dinner and the sun goes into hiding behind the mountains, we go to
the boat to unpack our fireworks. I am excited to use the flaming torch to
light the bursting fireworks. I have always been fascinated with pyrotechnics.
My dad hoists out a variety of brightly colored explosives packed in a long box
out of the boat. I can tell he is excited too. We march to the rocks and set up
our pyrotechnics. After throwing a few Minnie Dynamites, I walk back to the
fire and sit by my mom. I feel the glow of the fire in my eyes and everything
seems fine. But, soon a bad feeling starts creeping through me. I remember my
dog, Jago, is very afraid of
what if Jago gets too scared of the fireworks and runs away?" I ask.
okay. I can see him. Why don't you go check on him?" she replies in a
prance over to Jago and give him a hug. I can tell he is shaking so I sit with
him for a few minutes. I tell him comforting things like, "They will be done in
a little bit," and "Fireworks can't hurt you." I feel terrible. I don't want to
leave Jago all alone but I was getting really
cold so far from the fire. I get up and give him a kiss on his furry head. I
inhale the scent of nature in his fur.
will check on you in a little bit," I say as I walk away.
the rest of the evening, I watch the fireworks burst in the sky. Somehow they are
both violent and beautiful. I drag my sleeping bag out of the tent and use it
as a blanket. A feeling of happiness is spreading through me. This is a pretty
good camping trip, I think to myself.
the fireworks run out and we get ready for bed, I call for Jago to come to the
wait. Nothing. Not even a crunch.
"Dad, where is Jago?" I ask in a worried
"I don't know. He will come back in a
bit," he replies, relaxed.
An image of Jago prancing, unharmed,
out of the forest, plays in my head. I watch, but he doesn't. Panic shoots
through my body like lightning. I tell my parents we have to look for him. They agree and we start calling.
Jago! Where are you?" is the sound I hear tonight.
fills my brain. How could such an old dog get so far that he can't even hear
me? A tight feeling overcomes my stomach. I see my mom slowly getting less and
less joyful. She isn't saying it, but I can tell she is worried.
After a while of
failing to find Jago, my parents tell me we need to go to bed. I feel the tears
well up in my eyes. My breathing becomes uneven. I gulp in crisp air. I tell my
parents that he might not be okay by tomorrow, but they say I need to sleep.
Jago could need desperate help now.
I steady my breathing and take a deep breath so I don't start sobbing. A lump
comes up my throat and a knot forms in my chest.
"Can we look for
him tomorrow?" I manage to squeak out before crying.
"Yes, of course we
can," my mom says.
I go to bed
worrying about all the possibilities. What if he got eaten by a bear? What if
he will never come back? I find myself spiraling in my own worries. I toss and
turn tonight not being able to sleep.
The next morning I
wake up, crusty eyed, and it hits me. We lost Jago last night! I burst out of
the tent and remind my parents. We walk into the woods to search. I am feeling
hopeful. Maybe he just needed to calm down. The whole time we are all screaming
at the top of our lungs. I yell his name urgently over and over again. When we
don't find him, we walk back to camp. I eat breakfast, but all I can think
about is Jago. I hope he is okay. For the rest of the morning all the families
search for Jago. Nothing. I hold back tears that I don't want everyone to see.
My heart is heavy. I imagine Jago walking out of the thick, green woods. I
imagine how happy I would feel. Then I imagine finding him half alive in the
woods. Thoughts of how terrible it is that I couldn't find him flash through my
mind. I am a terrible owner and I let Jago down. I try to shake my bad thoughts
out of my head but they won't leave.
need to leave the site soon, so we start packing up. I feel guilty. Maybe if I
had stayed with Jago, he wouldn't have run away. Maybe I could've saved him. My
hope is drained. I feel helpless. I bet that is how Jago feels too. My heart
feels like it is going to break in two at any second. Something interrupts my
am going to go for one more walk to search," Matt explains to all the families
in an excited and ambitious tone.
watch as he walks onto the trail and disappears into the sea of green. I think
about what Matt must be like. He obviously likes hiking, so that is fun. Maybe
I should try talking to him and get to know him.
has been an hour.
is Matt?" one mom asks.
am not as concerned with Matt being late as I am with Jago being lost. I start
to think about life without Jago. I imagine how quiet our house would be. I
remember his collar jingling every time he runs toward me to get belly rubs. My
heart breaks and sinks down in my chest. Tears fill my eyes to the rim. I tell
myself that everything will be okay, but I don't believe it.
wait longer and then see something come out of the forest. What could it be? I
look closer. I can tell it is Matt, but I am not sure what he is carrying on
his shoulders. I hear people cheering in the background. Matt keeps walking
closer. Then, what I see fills me with joy.
It is Jago! I rush over to check on him. Matt
gently rests Jago on the dirt floor of the forest. I see that Jago is wet and
shivering. I don't care about that. I still wrap my arms around him as much as
I can. My heart feels warm and full again. I feel like nothing could make me
sad right now. I can see my mom's eyes well up with tears.
Someone goes to the boat to get a blanket.
When they come back, I help wrap Jago in it. I can see him slowly get warmer
we know he will be okay, Matt tells us how he found Jago. He says he was
walking past the trail and he heard something whimpering. He walked up a hill
and peered over. There, wedged between two rocks in high tide, was Jago. He
went over to Jago to free him. Matt said if he had gotten there any later, Jago
hearing his story, I feel very grateful. I think about how it is crazy that a
man that I just met saved my dog.
Now, I really appreciate the lesson I learned
that day. I learned that the most unexpected people can become an important
part of your life. I also learned that you need to be grateful for the people
around you. I was not grateful for Matt at first. Why would I be? I didn't know
him well and I hadn't taken the time to know him. But, I should have been
grateful. I didn't look deep into him, so I couldn't tell how kind he is. Back
then, I would have never expected that Matt would become a very big part of my
life. If I hadn't recognized how grateful I am for Matt that day, he probably
wouldn't be as important to me. I learned that I should give everyone a chance
because they might surprise me. I am forever grateful for Matt, because Jago
was my best friend. If he hadn't found Jago, my life would be completely