Student Blog 2017-2018
by Christiana DeStefano
Inspired by Octavia Butler's Positive Obsession Essay
For eleven years, I have learned what love and friendship is. I have discovered what it means to be a loyal companion. For years I have continued to discover how important it is to care and love. My father hated the idea of going through with this when I was five years old. Now, none of us know where our lives would have been without her. My dog, Shiloh, has taught me more about life than I ever thought she could teach me. Many may think she is “just a dog,” but she is my friend. Shiloh has been a companion who can sense when we are sad or angry, and can bring us back to a sense of peace.
When I was in kindergarten, my brother and I begged our parents for a dog. We were dying to go to the pound to pick out a furry friend. My parents wanted to be sure we would follow through on our chores and responsibilities when it came to taking care of a dog. My father didn’t think we would be
able to do so. We were able to convince him, especially with the complaining and whining. Finally, we drove to the pound one day, and rescued our sweet puppy, whose mother had come into the pound stray, and pregnant with six puppies. Our Shiloh was one of those furry babies, and was only a few weeks old when we held for the first time. I still have a flashback of the car ride home, when she sat on a single paper towel on my mother’s lap. For the first couple of years, she was definitely hyper, but I became quickly attached to her. Even though she was a bit excited, we were able to tell right away that she had a warm heart, and a fuzzy head. I went all through elementary school with Shiloh, drawing pictures of her in class, presenting pictures of her to my classmates, taking her for walks in the evening, and making sure she is always happy and content. I learned from her to enjoy the simple things in life. I
have never wanted anything extravagant or over the top, because I have learned to love simple joys.
Shiloh taught me to look forward to just watching the sunrise, or the sunset. She loves to lie on the grass in our front yard. I usually read my book while sitting with her, and I enjoy the sky. She loves to look at the clouds and the trees, the birds, and the cars passing by. Every walk we take, Shiloh stops to
smell the flowers. Shiloh’s heart has taught me more about life than I ever thought she would.
Not only have I learned to love the simple things in life, but I have learned to love more. Around five years ago, my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. The cancer in her body spread faster than we expected, and we learned her time was coming soon. The night she died, my mother received the phone call just a few minutes later from her step- dad, telling her the news. The call was dreaded, and took place around two in the morning. My mom sunk to the ground and started to cry. She held her head between her knees. In that moment, it’s hard to say or do anything. The only one who did know
what to do, was Shiloh. Shiloh simply walked towards her, and licked the tears off of her face. She continued to lick the ones that would keep rolling down and out of her eyes. That was love. That was an act of love that touched our hearts. In that moment, my dad knew after all those years, the dog has
made a difference in our lives. He too, experienced Shiloh’s love during a difficult time. My dad unexpectedly had to have open heart surgery. It was a very challenging year, and he became depressed. It is scientifically proven that if someone touches your heart you become depressed, and it hit him hard.
On the second day he was home from the hospital, he was in bed trying to recover. My dog hadn’t seen him for ten days and missed him like crazy. Usually Shiloh is not allowed to be on my parents’ bed, but this was an exception. I lifted her onto the pillows, right next to where my dad was lying. She genuinely likes the foot of my bed, but as soon as she laid her eyes upon him, she slowly crept down, and lay sideways so her face was directly looking at him. Shiloh’s love that day, got all of us.
There are nights when I turn down invitations to go out with friends, just so I do not miss my leisurely stroll with Shiloh. There are nights when I do not want to do anything, but put her on my bed and cuddle with her. Junior high school held many difficult days when I would come home crying, and
she would be there to press her head into my shoulder. I barely go out with friends just so I can be home with my dog. My family travels, but only for a limited time, so that we are not separated from our girl. When I go to a family member’s house, I take her with me, and drive very slowly whenever she’s in
the car. Shiloh’s warm heart and fuzzy head brings me peace and comfort, as I have learned to reflect that feeling. Having my best friend around me all the time has become a positive obsession, and a gift from God. Learning to enjoy a simple life, to love more, and to be a loyal friend has been the best life
lesson I could have ever imagined, and I could have ever learned from my positive obsession, Shiloh.
I do think that all of us think in poems.
-Naomi Shihab Nye
Contributors to the blog are students in Ms. Washington's classes: Seniors in AP Literature and 9th grade ELA.