Her ball had bounced out of the garage onto the driveway and was rolling toward the street. As she toddled to retrieve it, the family dog Spot blocked her way. With hands on her hips and with as much determination as any two year old could muster, the curly-topped girl repeatedly voiced her opinion. “Pot, Pot, move Pot!”
That’s when my mother gazed through the kitchen’s screen door to see what was happening in my garage playroom. As she brought the ball back to me, Mom rewarded Spot with a pat on the head and a “good boy” for standing guard over her youngest.
Pets found us (translation: followed us home from school and could stay as long as we took good care of them). Spot was considered to be my brother David’s dog.
My sister Betty had claimed black and white cat Midnight as hers a few years earlier. I finally had a pet of my own when Boots joined our family when I was about nine. By that time, the others had taught us about saying goodbye to those we loved.
Boots was affectionate and playful. I couldn’t wait to get home from school and run around the neighborhood with her at my side. Before long, though, she slowed down a bit. It was for a good reason. Soon I witnessed the miracle of birth and welcomed a litter of puppies into that same garage.
It was a difficult decision to make. Since we could only keep one of the babies, I chose the one that looked the most like Spot and told David I would share that puppy with him. Together we took care of them both until he graduated from High School and went into the Navy. In the few letters that we were permitted to exchange with him during the Vietnam War, he always wanted news about the dogs. The doggy kisses were right up there with the human affection he was shown upon his safe return home.
These days grandsons Oliver and Lincoln have had their own experiences of loyal companionship and being unconditionally loved by their dogs Brooklyn and Annie. Who better to watch with for the school bus or as a giant snowball is heading toward the window than your furry friend?
And of course, they’re allowed to slurp up the mixed veggies that are so kindly shared with them and are included in family photos.
Cause they’re just one of the family.
Joining together in saying “Bye bye Brookie” not long ago was hard. While it won’t be the same without her sweetness there, I’m actually looking forward to dog sitting again with Annie next month. Being looked at through the gentle eyes of “man’s best friend” is a gift that does my heart good, no matter my age.
I’d love to support you in remembering the moments your heart’s been touched by a pet and capturing the stories that arise from the memories. Let’s chat soon!
Capturing the Moments that Matter…Energizing Your Faith…Passing It On!