A story of love (I think we all could use right now)
Hi guys, I had a hard night last night and haven't even slept yet. I found myself reading my Chicken Soup books and I feel better. I wanted to type out this one story from Chicken Soup for the Cat & Dog Lover's Soul because I think it will help cheer you up if you're having a bad day. Also with everything that is happening with the terrorist attacks, I know we can all afford to hear a good story. Break out the kleenex
It doesn't seem like that long ago, but it was been nineteen years since a little ball of joy (and fluff) came into my life and changed it forever. I was working for a property management firm in San Francisco and was asked to relocate to Texas to oversee an apartment complex there.
Soon after my wife Linda and I arrived, the building maintenance man discovered a little mutt in a recently vacated apartment. The dog was in a closed closet with no food or water. The maintenance man and his wife were unable to keep her. so Linda asked me if we could do so, "Just for a little while," I reluctantly agreed, but added, "Just for a few days."
I nicknamed the dog Shorty. And Shorty took to me like you wouldn't believe. She followed me everywhere. She was closer than a shadow and when she lay beside me on the couch or in bed you couldn't get a dime between us. Both Linda and I quickly knew that a "little while" was going to become a lifetime.
When our time in Texas came to an end, we returned to San Francisco where Shorty adjusted to being a city dog. We'd take her to the park and for walks around town, but it wasn't the same as when she and I went running out in the fields together just enjoying the day and one another. That was truly our favorite time.
In San Francisco, Shorty learned how to play baseball. She absolutely loved it. Linda pitched, I hit and Shorty fielded the ball. She would catch it in the air or at the most on one hop, trot up to Linda, give her the ball and then run back to the outfield and bark as if to let us know she was ready for more.
As time went on, Linda wished she had a dog that was as devoted to her as Shorty was to me. So one day we went to the SPCA. Sitting in the back of a cage was a terrier-mix a little bigger than Shorty but with the same coloring. He had the biggest brown eyes and was just begging to be taken home. And he was.
Shorty and Buddy took to each other from the beginning and people used to think they were brother and sister.
Some years later, we rented a little house with a fence and room for Shorty and Buddy to play in. By then in her old age, Shorty started losing her teeth, and her tongue used to hang out of the side of her mouth. She also lost her sight and her hearing.
But Buddy became her eyes and ears. He knew that when Shorty went to the front door and barked once, the way she had always done, she wanted to go outside. But now she needed assistance, and Buddy knew exactly what to do. He would take her ear in his mouth and gently guide her down the stops to the lawn where he would lie down and watch her roaming around smelling everything she could. When she was ready to come into the house, Short would stand motionless, bark once and again Buddy would go to her, take her ear and guide her up the stairs to her bed.
One evening the door was open, and Shorty somehow made it down the stairs unattended but she collapsed at the bottom. I carried her to her bed and she lay there for a day whimpering, just as she had seventeen years earlier in that dark closet. I told Linda that it looked like it was about time.
Linda knew what I meant and nodded. We took Shorty to the vet that night and as expected there wasn't anything that she could do. She helped us feel better by asking us to think of all the positive things that Shorty had brought into our lives. I will always feel grateful for that.
I decided to remain with Shorty. The vet left us alone in a room, and I stood just stroking her. I think we both gathered some comfort in being with each other. When it was over I cradled her, not ever wanting to let her go.
Linda and I had Shorty cremated and today her ashes and her picture sit atop our dresser.
When the time comes, I've requested that I too be cremated. And Linda has promised me that she will scatter my ashes, together with those of Shorty, in the biggest field she can find.
Then Shorty and I will go running together once again.
[ September 26, 2001: Message edited by: aly ]
Shiloh, Reece, Lolly, Skylar
and fosters Snickers, Missy, Magic, Merlin, Maya