It was the weekend after Thanksgiving and Louise walked her
black-and-tan Cocker mix through the hilly woods of her property out
back. It was a cool morning with wispy fog trailing over the grass and
threading through the trees.
Before they left the house, Louise put a yellow jacket on her furry
companion. Her fur girl's name was Daisy and she didn't take well to
the cold. Louise liked the bright color because it made spotting Daisy
easier if she chased a ball into the nearby brush and trees.
Just yesterday the last of her visitors, her daughter and grandson, had
flown home. As it was whenever family visited, upon their absence,
Louise became a bit lonely. Spending quality time with Daisy chased
those blue feelings away.
Daisy was a gift Louise gave herself. About a year before, while
exploring a new shopping center, Louise went into the pet store. To her
delight dogs and puppies from the local pound were there for adoption.
In a small-gated enclosure was a doe-eyed, silkily furred, 10 month old
pup. Soon to be Louise's pup--Daisy. Louise was in her 60s and the pup
was young enough for them to grow old, together. In short order they
became best of friends and kindred spirits.
Daisy brought an old tennis ball she found in the shrubs to Louise.
Prancing on her front legs, the little dog panted happily, waiting.
Muttering love words to her fur girl, Louise bent down and took the
ball, then threw it into a thicket of young evergreens. Daisy trotted
after it, tail high and wagging.
When Daisy didn't return, Louise decided to find out what was keeping
her. She wasn't far into the woods when she heard the screech of car
brakes. Concern hurried her steps and as Louise crested a hill, at the
bottom, shrouded by fog, a patch of yellow caught her gaze. When she
reached the dirt road she saw the still body of her precious Daisy.
Her little girl was still breathing. Louise gathered her up and in a
matter of minutes Louise was driving to Daisy's vet. It was a half an
hour drive and during that time Louise kept checking her fur girl. She
had covered Daisy in a fleece blanket. But each time Louise gently laid
a hand on Daisy's shoulder, she found her body getting colder and her
breathing grew shallow.
When Louise swept into the office Daisy whined and it tore through
Louise's heart. The vet took them right in and upon a quick examination
he confided that it would be best to put Daisy down. She was beyond a
vet's ability to heal her.
Later, in agony, Louise left the pet hospital sobbing in disbelief and
Two weeks later Louise drove back to the vet's office to pay the bill.
She had left so upset she forgot to pay the money she owed for Daisy's
Louise told the desk clerk what she was there for. The lady behind the
counter shook her head... "There's no charge. I am so sorry, Louise!"
She stood up and stretched over the counter to hug the older woman.
Louise started to thank her but sobs knotted the words in her throat.
Just then the bell above the door jingled as a man and woman stepped
into the waiting room.
Trembling in the man's arms was a small, older dog. His lineage was
questionable--possibly some dachshund. He had soft, wispy,
russet-colored fur that tufted out at odd angles.
The couple walked up to the counter and hurriedly explained why they
were there. Their father had passed away the day before. The dog was
his and they didn't know what to do with it.
They told the receptionist that as it was close to Christmas and with
funeral arrangements needing their attention they had no time to deal
with the dog. They also had no family member willing to take the
elderly dog in. They suggested euthanasia as a possible solution.
Louise looked over to see the dog's eyes darting around the room
nervously. Poor thing was scared to death. He started to whimper softly
and the lonely sound of it tore at her heart. "What's his name?" she
said to the couple.
"Preston" the man muttered. The vet entered the room and the man handed
a bottle of pills and the dog over. Without another word, the two
walked out the door.
"Oh, let me hold him," Louise stuttered. She gazed at the old dog
through tear washed eyes--tears for her Daisy, tears for this abandoned
soul with no one to croon and caress the trembles away.
The vet placed the little fur guy in Louise's arms and then studied the
bottle of medicine. It held half a bottle of thyroid pills. "Louise,"
he said. "Let me examine him, run some tests, then he's all yours."
A month later, Louise returned for more thyroid medicine. Preston
followed smartly behind her on his leash. The veterinarian greeted her.
Joy suffused her expression as she told him how happy she was with
Preston in her life. Then, suddenly, tears flooded her eyes. He asked
why she was crying.
"Last month a small, old dog was at everyone's mercy and unwanted. I am
an older woman and I could just as easily be at someone's mercy,
unwanted and alone. I had thought a younger dog would suit me best, but
that wasn't necessarily true. Grief and belief are powerful teachers."
The vet smiled and his eyes were full of a deep understanding. He
nodded in agreement.
"I will open my doors to other senior dogs in need of a home with a
kindred spirit. I will touch more lives this way and my life will be
enriched beyond measure for the love I will share." Louise nodded back
at the vet, then glanced down at Preston. "You know--sometimes we see
more clearly through tear washed eyes..."
copyright 2007 kathy pippig harris
mail to (after removing the spaces
kathy. pippig @ yahoo. com