April 19th 2009 3:54 pm
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"I talk to him when I'm lonesome like; and I'm sure he understands. When he looks at me so attentively, and gently licks my hands; then he rubs his nose on my tailored clothes, but I never say naught thereat. For the good Lord knows I can buy more clothes, but never a friend like that. ~W. Dayton Wedgefarth"
Loving a dog and having them love you back with more loyalty and companionship no other human can ever give you, is something every person should experience. I found that all dogs have such loving qualities but shelter and rescue dogs seem to go above and beyond to give you this love and so much more.
My first dog Nelson was no different. Nelson wiggled his big fluffy butt into our lives many years ago when, even though at the time we didn't know it, we needed him.
The year that Nelson adopted my family, my parents didn't really want another dog. They had Rosie who was very happy being the queen of the castle, plus it had been a year or so since their other dog Missy had died.They where busy with their new lawn, garden and sprinkler business they owned so a new dog wasn't high on the priority list. But fate had other plans.....
It was summer (my parent's busiest time of the year) and their guys where working a normal day at a house in hall Brooke when something new happened, out of no where a brown dog jumped out of hiding. The guys thought the dog was coming after them at first, but it was only a matter of seconds before they realized he was going after the sprinkler system that had just turned on. He jumped from sprinkler head, to sprinkler head and mouth fiercely at the water spurting out. When the sprinklers turned off he shook his curly & soaked fur and trotted over to the guys to make some new friends. The guys thought he was owned by one of people in the surrounding houses but he kept coming day after day for a while. The guys started feeding him their sandwiches and word of the sprinkler chasing dog got to my parent's and when they went there to check everything out they met him and when leaving they looked into his warm hazel eyes & said "OK, bud" and he jumped into the car.
At first glance "Bud" looked cared for, his coat was newly groomed but his ears where overgrown with mats and they where badly infected and it hurt him immensely. And after over a month of searching for his owners and lacing every square inch of the area his was found in and more nobody came forward. And to this day we are about 85% sure he was thrown away, probably out of some one's car because whenever he was in the car he became overwhelmed with stress & fear.
After that long month it was clear that "Bud" was already home, and with the new home he got a new name. Nelson. Nelson is the name of the sprinkler system he was found so joylessly romping through, it fit perfectly.
In no time Nelson's goofy & loyal personality showed through a 100%, we found out not only did he have a water fetish but he also had a love for tennis balls and because my parent's picked up a lot of stray tennis balls that had gone of courts & into people's yards he always had one in his mouth and his tail wagging like crazy. It also didn't take long for my parent's to learn he wasn't just scared of car rides but was also madly terrified of thunder storms.A few minutes before thunder would even be heard Nelson would start passing & then trying to hide, and when the thunder finally made it's roar he searched the house frantically for my mom & then collapsed on the floor shaking. Not even a tennis ball or piece of food could calm him, the only way to sooth him even in the tiniest bit was sit down on the floor with him & hold him your arms until the storm passed.We did this every single time.
As the days ticked by Nelson's biggest passion shined through, his unconditional love for babies. When Nelson arrived my parent's babysat a lot for friends, Nelson loved this!!He was the best baby sitter, stalking the baby/toddler/kid everywhere giving them constant kisses.Snuggling with them as they slept, retrieving every toy they tossed & calming them if they cried.If he ever did hear a baby cry (even if it was the TV) he would lift back his head & give a long howl & then run off and get my parents. He absolutely adored "his" babies.It wasn't long that he got his own kids, in November 1993 my parent's had their first kids my twin brother & myself.We we where a month early & very tiny but where still healthy, mother Nelson took us under his wings since day one. He helped us balance as we wobbled trying to find our first steps, he licked away the tears when we fell down trying to take those steps and he protected us like no other.
In 1997 my younger brother Evan came into this world & like always Nelly nurtured his new kid, and even though he loved all of his babies the same him & Ev had a special conection.And then when Evan was only a month or so old he got very very sick, and he had to have an infant inhailer & whenever he got sick it was always bad.Nelson never ever left his side when he went through this tough time.Evan is in fifth grade now and still remembers the hot summer days he spent sleeping with his head on Nelson in front of one our hallway fans.
Then in 2000 little Gracie was welcomed into the world, and of course Nelson very happy to welcome a new baby into his pack of kids. Though as little Gracie started to grow Nelson began to slow down, his years where finally catching up with him.
His old bones where becoming thin & fragile and it was even hard for him to chase a tennis ball (one of his all time favorite past times) & sometimes he wouldn't even chase after it but if one of us kids threw it then he would slowly lift his body & trot over to the ball and retrieve it for us just like he did oh so many times before. His hearing & eyes where feeling their strain also, when I would go behind him and surprise him with a big hug instead of him turning around and giving me a huge sloppy kiss he would jump up and look around frightened and it would take him a minute or two to realize who I was, then I got my kiss.
As Gracie took her first steps and spoke her first words Nelson began to get sick and had to be on a special diet (which he didn't like). And then we learned that our beloved sprinkler dog was in the early stages of cancer, it broke our hearts. We weren't sure how long our Nelly boy had left but we made everyday special for him, we would sit on the floor & feed him pieces of lettuce (his fav. food) and when he was to weak to play he would lay in the backyard & I would lay my head on his soft fur and just sit in the sun. I would tell him stories I made up & I would ramble on about my day. He was always happy to listen. In my mind I thought maybe he would get better, maybe we could spend just a few more years together, but the angels where calling him. And on one spring weekend morning I woke up to find that right outside my room was a pillow and a blanket. I asked my mom about it & she sat me down, he voice calm & her eyes stained with red, and she explained to me that Nelson was an old boy and has lived a long and wonderful life and that he was going to join God today and become an angel. I was heartbroken, he was my first dog, my protector, my best friend. Even though my heart had shattered I trudged on and got ready for the day and then learned from my dad that my mom had slept on the floor with Nelson last night because he was so weak he could barely move. I couldn't hold it any more and ran outside crying, I couldn't believe today would be the last time I would ever see my sweet companion. A little bit later I sucked in my tears and went back inside, and then followed my siblings and parents into the front yard. My dad had carried Nelson into the back of our mini van & left it open so each of us kids could say our goodbyes.I went first, I cupped his head in my small hands kissed him one last time & he returned the favor and gave me one last lettuce breath kiss and wiped away the tears that tip toed down my face.I told him I love him and stepped back letting my twin brother have his turn.My brother wrapped his arms around Nelly & Nelly licked his face, my brother gave him on last kiss joined me.Then it was Evan's turn and at first Evan didn't really do anything, he just stood there and they both stared into each other's eyes for a moment then after long gazing moment Nelson gave Evan one last slurpy kiss and Evan giggled with joy. And the let Nelly give "his" youngest baby (Gracie) one last lick & that was the last time I saw my best friend.As my dad closed the back of the van, my mom shuffled me and my brothers to our neighbor's house. As soon as I stepped inside I grabbed a chair & placed it by the window and planted myself there. I watched as my dad and mother drove off with my best friend, and I fiercely fought off the incoming tears.My brothers sat on the floor playing with the neighbor kids, I stayed at my spot by the window the entire time my parents where gone. Looking out the window, I began to remember the fantastic years I had spent with this loving creature. I remembered the summer days we spent running around our little hose sprinklers, the early Saturday mornings we spent sitting on the couch together watching Rugrats & Angry Beavers together. I remembered all the times he comforted me when I was upset, all the times he spent laying with me when I was sick, all the days we spent living life to the fullest.Reminising on these memories made me look up at the sky at the sky and wish that some how some way my parent's would return with Nelson and everything would go back to the way it had been for so many years. But I knew the chances of this happening didn't exist.And when I saw my parents driving up into our drive way I stormed outside & charged towards my parents, my dad welcomed me with a huge and comforted me when tears followed seconds later. And I watched as he opened the back of the van and took out the grey comforter that Nelson laid on, more tears streaked my face as my father closed the back of the van because at that moment I knew that my Nelly boy was gone and wouldn't be coming back.
It has been many years since I lost my Nelly, and I still miss him dearly. He was such an amazing dog with so much love to give and It still boggles my mind how anybody could abandon this wonderful dog that so much joy into our lives. Nelson showed me the remarkable love one an animal can give, which has shaped me into the animal fanatic I am today. My whole life revolves around animals & helping them.And if my family never adopted this dog then I have no idea where I would be right now.So to anybody thinking of getting a dog, please considering adopting it will change your life forever. I know it did mine.
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Beautiful, beautiful story. Nelson, you had a wonderful life and lots of people who loved you! Your typist made my momma cry reading your story, but she didn't stop!
Thank you for sharing it with us!
Love & Licks,
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