Flash Took Ryder’s Secrets To The Grave

Thesna Aston
4 min readDec 2, 2023
Photo by Tadeusz Lakota on Unsplash

Flash: My Son’s Protector And Best Friend:

The Adoption:

It had been months since our dog had passed on, and we were finally ready for another one.

We decided on the adoption when we heard how many animals our local shelter had. Christmas time is problematic because little children want a puppy, but soon after, too often, the dog is given away or ignored when it is no longer a cute puppy.

My husband and I decided to adopt an adult dog. So, off we went to the shelter with our daughter. We wanted to surprise our son, Ryder, because he had been asking for another dog. Our children would adopt all the animals in the shelter if we had a place big enough to house them and money to buy them food.

The shelter was noisy, with dogs barking for attention or begging to be touched. Feeling like we walked around for hours, we finally stumbled upon a white Alsatian/Husky. He looked so lost and frightened among the rows of dogs.

We decided to take him home!

The dog was discovered and saved from an abusive family. He looked at us nervously, wary of the tone of our voices. My husband called him, and he wet himself. Our daughter was smitten, but she had a dog. This one was for our son, Ryder. On the journey home, he was restless and kept peeing or jumping in the back seat. He whimpered and would not stop, but we reassured him that we would be home soon.

The Surprise Ryder Was Scared Of:

After school, Ryder got into the car, and the dog immediately jumped from one side to sit near him. Ryder was scared. He was around eight years old, and the dog was big, excitable, and constantly barking and peeing. Ryder was not impressed. He named the dog Flash because he said the dog was as fast as lightning and all over the place.

For the next few weeks, my daughter would play with him and try to teach him tricks, but Flash would abandon her whenever he saw Ryder. He was like the annoying fly who refused to go away even when shooed.

One day, I left work early, arrived home, and saw Ryder with his legs dangling in the pool and Flash sitting quietly alongside him. I don’t know when it happened, but it seemed that unbeknownst to us, Flash and Ryder had been secretly bonding, far away from our prying eyes.

That was the point of no return.

No longer would Ryder be scared or wary of Flash, and Flash would become his security guard or dog, in this instance.

Ryder would leave for school in the mornings, and the two would say their goodbyes. After school, he would arrive home and be greeted by an excited barking, tail wagging, jumping Flash.

The trauma in Flash became less as he healed. He no longer cowered in the corner when hearing loud voices and didn’t lose control over his bladder.

As a family, we soon realized that Flash guarded Ryder with his life.

When Ryder was swimming and diving underwater, Flash would cry and run around the pool until he saw his head come up.
When we chastised Ryder if he was being naughty, he would sulk outside, and faithful Flash would be next to him, intently listening to his troubles.
On a few occasions, I heard Ryder tell Flash how he hated us (his parents) when we grounded him, and Flash would nuzzle his neck or place his head in his lap and remain quietly comforting him until he felt better.

Flash knew when Ryder was upset, and if we approached him the moment he was consoling Ryder, he would growl, warning us to stay away.

He loved us, but he worshipped Ryder, and everyone knew that.

Flash knew all Ryder’s secrets because he was his best friend. We would try to talk to our son, but he would say everything was fine, yet we often saw him talking to Flash or playing with him.

We never knew until years later when Ryder told us he was the victim of bullies during those years at school, but Flash knew.

One day, my husband was wrestling with Ryder, and Ryder laughingly shouted for help.
Like lightning, his loyal “body dog” was there, issuing warning growls to my husband.

One hot Summer day, Ryder was lying on the floor, trying to cool down and Flash, probably thinking something had happened to him, rushed through the door and gently started patting Ryder’s cheek with his paw.

Flash was just what Ryder needed during his years at school, and Ryder, in turn, instilled love and trust in Flash.

The years passed, and we moved to a town close to the beach where the two of them would spend afternoons together.

Then Flash had a stroke and was paralyzed.

I drove to the hospital while my son held his best friend in the back seat.

Now bigger and stronger, Ryder carried Flash into the hospital and placed him on the table inside the surgery.

I was heartbroken, but Ryder was inconsolable when the vet suggested euthanasia. There was nothing they could do to save him except put him out of his misery and pain.

I said a tearful goodbye, and tears flowed from Flash’s eyes. Ryder wanted to be there to hold his hand (paw) until the end. He asked for privacy, and I left. And as I glanced over my shoulder, I saw Flash place his head in Ryder’s arms. My son was sobbing, and the dog was whimpering.

I closed the door and waited until Ryder was ready to come out.

In a Flash, Flash was no more, and he took with him all the secrets Ryder had confided in him for years.

Flash will always remain with us, and often, Ryder would reminisce about special moments with his best friend.

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Thesna Aston

Writer-The complexities of life are simplified through my Writing. Wellness Coach, Human Rights Activist. Grateful for my life and family. Writing is healing