Write On!

A Dog’s Love

In Uncategorized on January 26, 2012 at 9:36 pm

 

By Sherri Moseley

Rubber soles hitting the blacktop were the only things to be heard this early in the morning. Dawn had barely broke the horizon and the air held the moisture from the storm the night before. Ponytail swaying in rhythm with each stride, Christine was barely breaking a sweat as she went through her daily jog. Distracted by her own thoughts she barely heard the whimpers until she was on just about on top of the source.

Half laying on the road as if he had crawled as far as he could go the small brown hound looked up with the saddest brown eyes. Kneeling down by the poor pup Chris scratched behind his ears.

“Poor baby. What happened?” Pulling her cell out of her exercise pouch on her ankle she used speed dial to call the local vet. “Hey Henry. I have a small hound in the middle of Ficus street hurt. I am not sure what happened or how he’s hurt. Okay. I’ll be here.” Sitting down next to the hound she comforted him as much as she could, speaking soothingly to him as she waited for help to arrive.

Less than thirty minutes later Henry pulled up in an old blue Chevy truck. As he lumbered out of his truck and grabbed his bag, his muttering reached her ears. “Too early in the morning for this mess. Up all night delivering a breeched calf and now up at the crack of dawn for a hound. About time to retire from all this.”

“Henry what’s this I’m hearing about retiring? You know you love these animals” Chris grinned over her shoulder as Henry approached her.

Not stopping for a moment, Henry set down his bag and began examining the dog. “Well lady, you know that new vet over in the next county is looking for an actual office to call home. He’s offered to buy me out and his offer is mighty generous. I’m thinking me and the missus might just take that money and go someplace warmer. Maybe do a second honeymoon in Hawaii. I did promise her I’d take her one day and she’s put up with late nights alone for nearly fifty five years.”

The dog whimpered when Henry tried to move his back paws.

“Hmmm. Looks like we need to take this fellow in. Must have been hit by a car or something. Might need surgery. Guess I’ll have to call David up and get him over here to perform the surgery. Can’t quite do it myself these days. Hands lost their grip with this arthritis. You coming?” Picking up the dog and carrying him to the truck Henry laid him on the floor board in the back seat making sure he was situated securely. Chris and Henry climbed in the truck and drove back to the vet’s office.

David had already arrived by the time they did since Henry called him on the way in. As Henry lifted the dog out of the truck he made introductions. They brought the dog into the back exam room leaving Chris alone with her thoughts out in the front.

Three hours and dozens of phone calls later, Chris looked up as David walked in the front office. Weary lines bracketing his eyes were the only evidence of the toll the surgery had taken on him.

“That pup is one determined dog. We had to – “

Putting up one hand and grimacing “Please do not tell me what you had to do. I can’t take that medical stuff. Too squeamish. Just tell me if he’s okay”

“He’s fine. He is going to need a few days here at the clinic to fully recover and he’ll always have some stiffness in his hips especially during winter months. Neither Henry nor I recognize the dog so I doubt he’s from this area. We’ll send out notices to all the surrounding area vets and also post fliers up at the cafe and sheriff’s office to try and find his owner.”

“If you don’t find the owner, let me know. I can take him in.”

“Will do. Do you need a ride back home?”

Chris accepted and after checking in on the dog one more time they left in David’s SVU. At her driveway they parted ways, each going back to their regular schedule for the day.

Overloaded with grocery bags, Chris tried to manage getting her key into the lock and the door opened without dropping any of her cargo. Excited baying and yipping greeted her as she finally managed to fit herself and the bags into the front entry. It had been three weeks since Dusty had come to live with her and the other two dogs. He had made a surprisingly quick recovery and showed very little evidence of what he had been through. When rain was coming he’d curl up close to the fireplace and not want to play as much but otherwise he was a full force ball of energy keeping everyone in the house on their toes. The yard had been dog proofed and dog proofed again once they found him looking for weak spots.

“Hello babies. Momma’s home. Just please don’t trip me” Chris said as she maneuvered through the hall to the kitchen trying not to step on paws or get knocked over by tails. Once the bags were all dropped on the island, she turned and greeted the dogs. After giving a bunch of scratches each, she let them out into the backyard and went to putting up the groceries and making dinner.

At fifteen, Cole was about six feet tall and lanky as can be. Looking at him one would never guess he could eat two pounds of spaghetti and still be hungry. Walking in from the back door, the first words out of his mouth were no surprise.

“When’s dinner?” Grabbing an apple from the bowl he looked over her shoulder to see what she was cooking.

“In just a bit. Go make yourself useful in the meantime and feed the dogs.”

Outside the dogs were wrestling with one another. Dusty only about a third of the size of the other two was going after ankles and knees with an unsurpassed intensity. Cole decided to get in on the fun and went after Dusty. Rolling all over the ground, he and the dogs covered themselves in grass and dust before stopping for a break. Laying on his back and looking up to the sky, Cole felt at peace. Dusty laid next to Cole placing his head on Cole’s shoulder with his deep brown eyes watching Cole as if expecting something. These were the kind of days that would keep Cole grounded as his life brought unprecedented changes.

It’d been ten years since calm afternoons lazing in the backyard were the norm. Nowadays Cole was too busy rushing from home to work and back again to take the time. His mom, Chris, had passed away seven years ago of breast cancer after nearly three years of battling. The pain of losing her had yet to heal. Dusty, the last stray Chris had brought home, still lived with Cole though he was getting up in age. The last vet visit was not promising. Today they were on their way back to the vet.

Michelle, the vet’s assistant, opened the door for Cole as he carried Dusty in. She smiled compassionately at him and lead him to the back room. David walked in, clapped a hand on Cole’s shoulder and went to examining Dusty.

“He’s in a lot of discomfort Cole. Might be best to put him down. I know you love him but this little fella really needs peace.”

Squeezing the bridge of his nose and blinking rapidly, Cole fought the build up of tears and cleared his throat before speaking. “If it was his time, wouldn’t he just pass at home? I’d hate to make a decision that could have him lose a couple of years before his time.”

“He’s not going to just give up. He knows you’re in pain and have been since your mom’s death. Dogs are like that. Loyal with every breath of their body. Their hearts are so filled with unconditional love that they don’t know how to put themselves before their owners. Dusty’s heart just won’t quit as long as he thinks you need him.”

Cole thought back to the fun times after his mom had brought Dusty home. Feeling compelled to relive those days, Cole made a decision.

“Before we think about, well, about it, I want to go lay down with Dusty under the clouds.” Picking Dusty up and going out the vet’s office, Cole paused to take in his surroundings. Seeing a spacious grassy area a few yards away he crossed over to it quickly. Carefully laying Dusty down, Cole laid down on the ground and curled next to him. For the first time in a decade they laid side by side looking up at the clouds.

Dusty’s eyes never left Cole. Dark chocolate eyes filled with love watched intently for his master’s bidding. Cole looked over at Dusty and scratched behind his ears. With choppy sentences and an emotionally filled voice, Cole spoke of past memories of them playing in the yard, of Dusty comforting his mom in her final days and of Dusty comforting him after the loss of his mom.

“You’ve been such a good friend Dusty. Even when I haven’t been, you continued to be loyal and not leave my side. I am so grateful for all you’ve done and I am going to miss you so much. Part of me hurts as if I am losing mom all over again. You were the last pup she brought home. You were her favorite at the end. You’ve been there for so much. Dusty, it’s time for me to let you go. I love you and it’s not fair to you that I’m keeping you alive for my own comfort when you’re in so much pain.”

Tears dripped from his face as he nuzzled Dusty’s neck. Dusty whimpered slightly and licked the tears from Cole’s face. Taking a deep breath as if a relieved sigh, Dusty laid his head on Cole’s shoulder. Cole looked up to the sky and watched clouds roll by as memories overwhelmed his mind. Tears silently dripped down his face and into the earth beneath them.

Long minutes later, Cole stirred and decided it was time. He shifted and moved his shoulder out from under Dusty. Then he noticed the odd stillness of Dusty’s body. Lifting a shaking hand to Dusty’s chest, he felt for a breath. Finding none, he finally knew Dusty had gone. A half sob escaped while Cole jerkily came to his feet and then bent to pick Dusty’s body up. He walked slowly back to the vet’s office to deliver Dusty into their care.

Dusty had finally let himself go. He knew his master was healing and would find comfort elsewhere. With a last memory of days gone by, finally Dusty’s heart quit. He went silently to a deep sleep where days of backyard romps and wrestling matches existed and pain did not. Cole would find his way in this world without his best friend. Past times would provide future moments of joy in remembrance. Life for Cole would go on. Peace would be found. Love had been given freely and unconditionally. All because a heart would not quit.

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  1. This was a tear jerker 😦 sweet story!

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