In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Menagerie.”
My daughters and I went to a local animal shelter to “visit the animals.” While we were walking between the kennels, my youngest daughter Michelle’s attention was drawn to the puppies. Across from the puppies there was a forlorn looking white dog with black spots. I wanted to teach Michelle an important lesson. I pointed to the dog and explained that he would have great difficulty finding a forever home as it was unlikely many people would notice him across from the puppies, and wondering out loud how many times he looked his best only to be ignored. His chances were limited as he was a grown dog.
Michelle went right to him, opened his kennel and gave him a big hug. She stayed with him while Danielle and I continued to look at the rest of the animals. When we returned, she was still with him, stroking his fur and making his day. Tears streaming down her face she pleaded with me to take him home. My earlier message was received and my words boomeranged back to me as she stated that we must take him as it is unlikely anyone would want an older dog.
Reluctantly, she left him and shortly a young woman arrived and took him out for a walk. As the young woman was saying good-bye to him she promised that she would return the very next day and take him home forever. Michelle had me promise that if he was still here in two days, then we would take him home. I made this promise easily, convinced that the young woman would return.
Two days later we returned, and were greeted with a grand smile and a wagging tail. We promptly named him Lucky, as we felt he was lucky that we chose him. The name never suited and we changed his name to D.O.G. (Dee-Oh-Gee). This unusually usual name was perfect for him.
He helped us through the teenage years where he acted as a conduit to connect the generations and keep the communication lines open. We spoke through him and wisely he listened and then offered advice sagely as we spoke for him. In a bizarre twisted way, it broke the tension and it always worked. He had amazing insight into the most complex of problems.
He was my constant when I started the next part of my life alone. It was a year of upheaval. I sold the family home and began the process of building a new house. D.O,G. moved in with another family temporarily and I became a renter. Every week-end I picked him up and together we walked around and marvelled at the progress of the new house. He watched me learn to build and paint and stain. The day arrived when I picked him up for the last time and brought him home for good. He sighed and so did I, we were home.
He helped combat my loneliness as I talked to him about my dreams and plans. He was present nightly, keeping me safe in my country home with its strange sounds. He listened while I cried about another bad date and then listened with interest when I told him about meeting my future husband, John.
He put many smiles on faces at stop lights, his arm on the armrest, leaning to the side and looking intently out the window at the road ahead. He made me smile many times as he refused to be caught by the girls, effectively dekeing them out, proving that he watched closely when they played soccer.
His favourite place was sitting on the top of the hill overlooking his pond. He would spend hours watching the birds, ducks, geese and wildlife who call our backyard home. He looked like a Buddhist monk, serene, like he had it all figured out, perhaps he did? We had him over fourteen years and though its been 5 years since he passed, his memory is easily accessed, he was one of a kind. We are forever grateful that he rescued us, we were the lucky ones.