Your Brother

I hope you remember your brother, Tank: a purebred, brindle boxer. He was eight when you were born and got very sick not long after your first birthday.

One morning when you were around nine months old, your dad and I went downstairs to clean out our garage storage unit while you took your nap. Tank thought we’d forgotten about you and scratched all of the paint from your nursery door in his efforts to rescue you.

Tank never used to bark, let alone growl. But if you’re home and the doorbell rings, his dormant protector instinct kicks in and he rushes the door, a low grumble escaping his jowls.

He lets you pet (read: hit) him and grab his cropped tail. You haven’t yet discovered his velvety nose but are mesmerized by his prehistoric claws. You offer him your sippy cup and bring him his leash every morning before our walk.

Chemotherapy has been tough on Tank. He continues to lose weight and hair and the smallest scratch will bleed and bleed, but he comes with us on our daily walks to daycare and you keep him young at home.

At Rossi Playground down the block, he lets other kids pet him but doesn’t take his eyes off you. Even though he’s not allowed in the playground, I can’t imagine a day when he’s not tied up on the perimeter watching over us. The sweetest dog in the world: your brother.

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