William Matysuk of Amity Harbor with his Labrador retriever, Chewy,...

William Matysuk of Amity Harbor with his Labrador retriever, Chewy, on Matysuk's boat. CREDIT: Matysuk family photo Credit: Matysuk family

Marilyn Matysuk lives in Amity Harbor with her dogs, Chewy and Poopsie.

"Let's get a puppy," my husband said.

When we arrived at the puppy room of the North Shore Animal League in Port Washington, there was loud barking. Puppies jumped around in their cages.

Then we saw him -- a cute little black Labrador retriever hiding in the corner of his cage, not saying a "woof," but looking at us with his big brown eyes. We knew he was our dog.

My husband, Bill, named him Chewy because, as soon as we brought the puppy home, he ruined our slippers.

That was 2003. In their years together, Chewy went everywhere with Bill. They wrestled on the floor, played tug of war, shared their meals and snacks, and while Bill rubbed Chewy's stomach, Chewy would lick his cheek.

Chewy loved going fishing on Bill's two motor boats. One was a 26-foot cabin cruiser on which we'd take both Chewy and our other dog, an older Chihuahua named Poopsie. Bill and Chewy usually went off by themselves on a smaller 17-foot boat. Chewy would bark at the fish and try to catch seagulls. When they made their way home through Jones Inlet and then our canal, Chewy could be seen standing tall at the bow, like he was leading the way.

Chewy and Bill swam at a sandbar called the Black Banks, chased geese and kept each other company. Every morning Chewy picked up the morning paper and sat by Bill's feet as he read.

If Bill went fishing with his friends, Chewy would wait at the front window, with his chin on the windowsill. As soon as the fishermen returned, Chewy barked and jumped around until Bill came inside and gave him a big hug. Chewy would jump up and give him a big kiss. They were best friends.

On Feb. 1, Bill had a massive heart attack at home. Paramedics came and Bill was rushed to the hospital. He died the next day at age 54.

Chewy stayed at the window . . . waiting. But Bill never came home, of course.

As he licks my tears, Chewy looks at me with his sad brown eyes, wondering why I'm crying all the time. I try to hug him and explain that "daddy" isn't coming home, but he doesn't know why his best friend is gone. He's lonely for a playmate. Luckily, Bill's friends have been coming over to play with Chewy. They miss Bill, too.