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A Father, A Daughter & A Dog


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a long, but very worthwhile read

 

"Watch out! You nearly broad sided that car!"

My father yelled at me. "Can't you do anything right?"

 

Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward

the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him.

A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes.

I wasn't prepared for another battle.

 

"I saw the car, Dad . Please don't yell at me when I'm driving.."

 

My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt.

 

Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back.

At home I left Dad in front of the television and

went outside to collect my thoughts....

Dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain .

The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil.

What could I do about him?

 

Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon .

He had enjoyed being outdoors and had reveled in pitting his

strength against the forces of nature.

He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions, and had placed often.

The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that

Attested to his prowess.

 

The years marched on relentlessly.

The first time he couldn't lift a heavy log, he joked about it;

but later that same day I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it.

He became irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing age,

or when he couldn't do something he had done as a younger man.

 

Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack.

An ambulance sped him to the hospital while a paramedic administered

CPR to keep blood and oxygen flowing.

 

At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room.

He was lucky; he survived. But something inside Dad died.

His zest for life was gone. He obstinately refused to follow doctor's orders.

Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults.

The number of visitors thinned, then finally stopped altogether.

Dad was left alone.....

 

My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm.

We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust.

 

Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation.

It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did.

I became frustrated and moody. Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick.

We began to bicker and argue.

 

Alarmed, Dick sought out our pastor and explained the situation.

The clergyman set up weekly counseling appointments for us.

At the close of each session he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad 's troubled mind.

 

But the months wore on and God was silent.

Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it.

 

The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically

called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages.

I explained my problem to each of the sympathetic voices that answered in vain.

 

Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed,

"I just read something that might help you! Let me go get the article.."

 

I listened as she read. The article described a remarkable

study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under treatment

for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes had improved dramatically

when they were given responsibility for a dog.

 

I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon..

After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels.

The odor of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens.

Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs,

black dogs, spotted dogs all jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied

 

Each one but rejected one after the other for various reasons too big,

too small, too much hair. As I neared the last pen a dog in the shadows of

the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down.

It was a pointer, one of the dog world's aristocrats.

But this was a caricature of the breed.

 

Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray.

His hip bones jutted out in lopsided triangles.

But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention.

Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly.

 

I pointed to the dog. "Can you tell me about him?" The officer looked,

then shook his head in puzzlement. "He's a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere

and sat in front of the gate. We brought him in,

figuring someone would be right down to claim him.

That was two weeks ago and we've heard nothing.

His time is up tomorrow." He gestured helplessly.

 

As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror..

"You mean you're going to kill him?"

 

"Ma'am," he said gently, "that's our policy.

We don't have room for every unclaimed dog."

 

I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited my decision.

"I'll take him," I said. I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me..

When I reached the house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out

of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch...

"Ta-da! Look what I got for you, Dad !" I said excitedly.

 

Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust.

"If I had wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a

better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don't want it"

Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house.

 

Anger rose inside me. It squeezed together my throat muscles

and pounded into my temples. "You'd better get used to him, Dad .

He's staying!"

 

Dad ignored me.. "Did you hear me, Dad ?" I screamed.

At those words Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides,

his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate. We stood glaring at each other like duelists,

when suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp.

He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him.

Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw..

 

Dad 's lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw Confusion

replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently.

Then Dad was on his knees hugging the animal.

 

It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship.

Dad named the pointer Cheyenne . Together he and Cheyenne explored the community.

They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective

moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout.

They even started to attend Sunday services together,

Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at is feet.

 

Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years..

Dad 's bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne made many friends.

Then late one night I was startled to feel Cheyenne 's cold nose

burrowing through our bed covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night..

I woke Dick, put on my robe and ran into my father's room.

Dad lay in his bed, his face serene.

But his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night.

 

 

Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered

Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad 's bed. I wrapped his still form in the

rag rug he had slept on. As Dick and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole,

I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad 's peace of mind.

 

The morning of Dad 's funeral dawned overcast and dreary.

This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle

to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many

friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church.

The pastor began his eulogy.

It was a tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his life .

 

And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2.

"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers,

for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it."

 

"I've often thanked God for sending that angel," he said.

 

 

For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before:

the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article...

Cheyenne 's unexpected appearance at the animal shelter. . ..

his calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father. .

and the proximity of their deaths. And suddenly I understood.

I knew that God had answered my prayers after all.

 

Life is too short for drama or petty things,

so laugh hard, love truly and forgive quickly.

 

Live While You Are Alive.

 

Forgive now those who made you cry.

You might not get a second time.

 

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wow

u suck

LOL

that welled me up with tears...

like i need a reason to cry these days LOL

 

 

good one boss

 

thanks

 

 

Yes ... A friend sent it too me when

I lost our Dog ...

 

Tears are Healthy for Us ...

 

It lets us know we do have Compassion Inside Us ...

 

I always like the Footloose Movie ....

 

Theres a Time for Everything ...

 

Thank you for responding honestly , Cause your not Alone :bighug:

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Yes ... A friend sent it too me when

I lost our Dog ...

 

Tears are Healthy for Us ...

 

It lets us know we do have Compassion Inside Us ...

 

I always like the Footloose Movie ....

 

Theres a Time for Everything ...

 

Thank you for responding honestly , Cause your not Alone :bighug:

 

 

it happens that i am struggling with the decision to put "snickers" to rest...

hes been my bestest friend for nearly 12 years...(april)

and his days are so numbered i don't like to think about it...

it happens...as they pass the 10 year mark. he is my second dog as an adult.

 

tn_gallery_8052_599_209632.jpg:angel:

 

my loving "ratdog"

 

tn_gallery_8052_599_11105.jpg:blow-a-heart:

 

<<<THATS MI DAWG>>>

 

:bong7bp:

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PoohBear.jpg

 

This was Pooh-Bear , We Miss Dearly ...

 

I took her to Alpine Animal Hospital ( Gaylord )

 

They were very Professional and Compassionate ...

 

We wanted you to know that we understand the difficulty

of your decision to let your pet go peacefully .

 

Thinking of you at a difficult time

 

Last week we received a card from them signed by

everyone of their Doctors and Staff ...

 

It was a very nice gesture ...

 

It was'nt easy " mibrains " But i had No Choice ....

 

I 'll be there if you need help ... :bighug:

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an awesome spectacle of a pet in that there picture....

 

thanks doc..

u truly are a great man.

this will be my second time with this..... Sheba my(female lab/retriever) was 14 when i had to do it the first time.

I'll never forget because i was officially devorced a second time that same day June 24th 2003..4? LOL

i like to say i lost both my bit ch's that day...:rolleyes:

 

no worries. i will be sad on the day it happens and for some time afterwords i am sure.....

but i understand the way things work in our time and space and life is fragile, short and to be honored and cherished.

i love my dog's

to this there is no end.

their memory's and lessons keep me sane on lonely days. and when i find a suitable replacement model **smile** i will start over with the new cycle of friendship.

i have been feeding him anything he wants since Christmas and let me tell ya he loves my special oatmeal cookies the best **smile**

hey is there a rule about providing for my pet? LOL i hope LEO doesn't come and oust me..

i suppose i could ask the vet to sign a recommendation.

fek that...

he gets the joy...

thanks brother...

friend

neighbor...

peace

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You guys got me crying. Doesn't help that it's been a rough day. It's so hard to lose a pet. Heck, I cried when I had to have my daughter's pet rabbit put down. Sorry about your loss, Tarzan. Mibrains, I wish I could say something to bring some comfort, but there's nothing I could say that would help. Just keep lovin' that pooch as long as you've got him. The only comfort I've had in the past is in knowing that I gave my pets the best life an animal could have.

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You guys got me crying. Doesn't help that it's been a rough day. It's so hard to lose a pet. Heck, I cried when I had to have my daughter's pet rabbit put down. Sorry about your loss, Tarzan. Mibrains, I wish I could say something to bring some comfort, but there's nothing I could say that would help. Just keep lovin' that pooch as long as you've got him. The only comfort I've had in the past is in knowing that I gave my pets the best life an animal could have.

 

i know right...

crying..i havent stopped since i read this but now its for a differant reason....

i couldnt agree more though, i love my dog. i treat him better than myself for sure LOL we share averything we eat.

life is fragile....and sweet...and meant to be cherished and appriciated.

hug those you care about.

peace

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Darn Doc that was a great story, I gotta admit I had to stop reading it a few times to collect my composure. Although I don't know you I am sorry to hear about you best friend passing. Mibrains hang in there man, all you can do is what your doing. Make everyday the best for your pal to the very end. The whole death of a pet thing is the very reason I never wanted a dog to begin with. Knowing one day I will need to say goodbye. But the sadness of saying goodbye doesn't compare to the joy and companionship they have brought me. Just my thoughts, peace.....

Edited by Cleverpiggy
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