I was 10 when my family got our first dog, Snickers. He was a yorkie poodle mix, and he had traditional black and tan yorkie coloring. The first night we brought him home my parents had him sleeping downstairs in the kitchen. I could hear him crying in his crate from my room so I went downstairs to check on him. I wound up sleeping on the kitchen floor that first night, with him on my pillow, curled around my head. He was an escape artist, he always got out of the kitchen, no matter what we put up to stop him. He and I bonded so much. He turned to me when he was scared, especially during thunder storms, and would look for me when I wasn't home. Eventually we got two more dogs. Snickers didn't like having other dogs in the house. He tolerated them but he clearly missed the days when he was an only dog. He was friendly with other dogs though. My little 12 pound baby was best friends with the full grown doberman next door. He was also fiercely protective of us. He constantly patrolled our yard and protected us from everything, from birds to the UPS man. As he got older he became a little bit of a grumpy old man, he wanted to snuggle but only if you were in the position he wanted you to be in and you didn't move at all. As I got older, he was a constant source of comfort to me during very hard times. He got extremely mad at me when I left for college. He would follow me around for days when he saw me start packing, and the day I left, he would pee in the house to show his displeasure. When I was gone he would scratch at my bedroom door, trying desperately to find me. He would get mad at me even when I was gone for just a few days. I was on one of those short trips a few weeks ago when my family got the devastating news. Snickers, who was being watched by my grandma with the other dogs, had tried to take on a coyote. He was missing for about 8 hours before a family friend found him huddled underneath the grill cover at our neighbor's house. The friend rushed him to the vet and he went into emergency surgery. My mom flew home to be with him. A few hours after my mom got home, the doctors gave us the all clear, telling us that Snickers should be fine. Their only concern was infection at this point but they had stopped the bleeding. Just five hours later, we got the news that Snickers had died. It had just been too much trauma for him to handle. The vet later told us that he now thought Snickers had likely taken on two full-grown coyotes, not just one. It was so typical of my baby, to be afraid of thunder but then try to take on two coyotes. I never got to say goodbye to my baby. When I put him and the other dogs in their crates as I left for the airport, I didn't give him his usual kiss because I was in a hurry. The guilt over the fact that I didn't say goodbye and wasn't there for him when he was hurt and scared, is still really hard to deal with. I still cry on a regular basis. My baby died a few weeks ago and I wasn't there to hold him when he passed. He was only 10.