Everyone of us probably has a memory or two regarding our father's, especially now, when we are so close to Father's Day. I grew up with several different dogs throughout the years. But the dog my Dad was closest to, was a Chihuahua he rescued after he had to retire early due to health problems. From the start, this dog was devoted to my Dad and vise versa. Pedro wasn't a favorite dog of many. He was definitely a one "man" dog. He only seemed to tolerate the rest of us and my parents friends and relatives. But I did love him, because he meant so much to my Dad. Anything that Daddy loved, I loved too. That's why this story was so touching to me! Perhaps you have or know of a dog that was extra special to your Dad or another special guy in your life. Enjoy this, I am dedicating it to my Daddy, Russel L. Hills, who resides in Heaven now and has for 25 years. (Still some things you just never forget.)
Happy Father's Day, Daddy!Credit for this goes to Petwarmers.com, specifically, Susan Dart.
The tiny puppy shivered on the kitchen floor as my mother carefully unwrapped it from her coat. Muddy and wet, it was a pitiful sight, cowering by her feet and trembling with cold and fear. My brother and sister and I looked on in amazement as mother described finding it in a ditch by the supermarket parking lot. Afraid the tiny dog would be run over, she decided to bring it home. We watched as mother carefully bathed the little puppy and helped her to dry it with a soft towel. The transformation was amazing. Underneath the mud and grime was a lovely white fox terrier with a brown spot on her side. My sister said she was like a fairy tale princess, all cleaned up for the ball, and called her Cinderella. Mother felt sure that Cindy had been abandoned, but our dad disagreed. He said he couldn't imagine anyone giving up such a fine dog. "She must be lost," he said. "We have to try to find her family." He asked us to think about how we would feel if one of our pets was lost and nobody tried to contact us. He said we needed to do the right thing. So we placed an ad in the newspaper and posted signs in our neighborhood, describing the lost dog. We waited anxiously to see if anyone would claim her, but fervently hoped that no one would.
Meanwhile, with each passing day, we grew more attached to the pup. When our dad would come into the room and find us playing with her, he would always say firmly but kindly, "Remember, she's not ours and we can't keep her." We would sigh and say, "Yes, we know." I know that Dad was trying to save us from disappointment. The only other puppy our family had owned had died suddenly of distemper and the loss had been traumatic for all of us. He didn't want us to get our hopes up when he felt sure the dog belonged to someone else.
Several weeks passed and still no one claimed the little dog. Then one day Daddy came home from work carrying a paper sack. We stood on our tiptoes to try to see inside as he rattled the bag mysteriously. Then he opened the top and pulled out a shiny new collar and leash. "Cindy is going to need these," he said, "since we're going to keep her!" We threw our arms around him and cried with joy and relief. The puppy was ours at last!
Cindy grew into a wonderful family pet. She was gentle and sweet-natured. She loved everyone, but she was always Daddy's dog. She would wait by the door for him to come home and he played with her every evening after work. He trained her carefully and he taught us how to take care of her and how to be responsible pet owners. We were always a fun-loving family and could never resist teasing each other. So sometimes when we would find Daddy playing with Cindy, we just had to tell him, "Now remember, she's not ours and we can't keep her!" He would just grin and go right back to playing with his dog. This June my dad turns 93 and he still remembers Cindy clearly. If you ask him about her, he will immediately smile and tell you that she was simply the best dog a family could have. He will share a favorite story about her and tell you that we are all better people for having known her. He still loves dogs and although he is no longer able to take care of one of his own, my sister takes her beautiful Collies to visit him often. Fifty years since Cindy first came into our lives, our happy memories of her live on and on. They are the enduring legacy of one little lost dog that we would love and keep her whole life through.
-- Susan Dart