December 22nd 2006 10:42 pm
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An Accounting of Love
It was a late September afternoon and Jeremy was driving down a country road that took him through vineyards. Due to roadwork on the main thoroughfare traffic had been detoured.
His job took him all over the valley and today he had spent a good portion of his day behind the wheel. Down between two rows of grapevines something brownish-red caught his eye. Jeremy slowed the car to a stop.
With a hobbling gait, a tiny animal made its way toward Jeremy's car. Jeremy opened his door and stepped out onto the dirt shoulder. The small animal kept advancing, its head tilted at an odd angle. As the creature drew closer, Jeremy wondered how the animal could stand, let alone walk--it was nothing but fur, skin, and bones.
Jeremy knelt down, keeping still, until the small dog took a few more halting steps, then as if surrendering, the little fur boy collapsed at Jeremy's feet. He was so frail looking Jeremy hesitated to touch him. It was when the red dog turned his head up to peer at Jeremy, that Jeremy lost all his careful inhibition.
One of the young dog's eyes was totally destroyed. From his clear eye, the little dog studied him. He looked so sad it nearly broke Jeremy's heart.
With eyes misting, Jeremy gently scooped the fur boy up. "How have you made it this far?" he muttered before settling the little guy on the passenger seat of his car.
He drove to the vet he used for his senior Border Terrier, Chauncey. The vet, in examining the dog said, "He must be in a lot of pain with that ruined eye. The injury has been left too long untreated."
The vet looked at Jeremy, "I'll do all that I can to make him well."
Jeremy nodded and left the office.
Three days later Jeremy brought the furry patient home. He had an e-collar on to prevent him from scratching at the stitches that kept his eyelids shut. The infected, damaged eye had been removed.
Jeremy held the little boy; stroking him tenderly. The twinkle in the dog's remaining eye and his expression of thankful joy touched something deep in Jeremy's soul. He decided to keep him, but he needed to see how his older dog would get along with the newcomer.
As it turned out the elder dog would have nothing to do with the small red dog and there had been a couple episodes where the Border Terrier had physically threatened him. Jeremy and his wife were devastated--they had both come to love their little warrior.
So, Jeremy called the lady who ran a no-kill shelter in the next county and asked if she might accept a one-eyed little dog, with a big heart. She agreed readily after Jeremy explained the circumstances. He added the he'd like to come by every other Friday to pick the dog up and take him home for weekend visits. It was Jeremy's hope that their Border Terrier would have a change of heart and grow to accept the dog as a friend.
One week Jeremy got a call from the lady at the no-kill shelter, to tell him it looked like his little rescue had found a forever home. Jeremy knew the time might come when the dog, which he had never named for fear of becoming too attached, would be noticed by a loving human and taken home.
Jeremy's insides twisted painfully, this was the weekend he was to have picked the fur boy up for another try at Jeremy's house.
"May I come see him, one last time?" he said.
Within half an hour he was at the shelter. The lady was waiting for him, the small dog in her arms. She handed him over and the dog's tail wagged furiously as Jeremy held him lovingly. Then the furry fellow showered Jeremy with kisses.
Jeremy hugged him tightly and murmured words of affection. He walked out to a side yard so he could be alone with the now-healthy fur ball, whose life he had saved. But, in saving his life, he had lost his heart to the brave little warrior with the huge loving spirit.
Before he left, the lady assured him the red dog was going to a loving home. He nodded, thanked her and drove away.
It was hard for the lady to tell him about the new home the dog was going to. Difficult talking to a man whose heart was breaking. Hard not to cry when she looked into his eyes brimming with tears.
Later that afternoon a woman came to collect her new family member. She had been told the story about the little dog. And, after she arrived at the shelter the lady told her about the man's last visit.
In his medical files, Jeremy had left a letter describing how he had come to know and love the little dog. Included in the letter was his phone number.
That night, with the phone cradled at her shoulder, she told Jeremy all about the red dog's new home. She told him she had named the furry boy, Angus MacFurgus...
...And Jeremy smiled.
Copyright 2006 Angus's mom
December 5th 2006 9:40 pm
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A BORROWED CHRISTMAS
He first saw Mazy while on the job with the gas company. He had
driven past an auto body parts business and she was running inside a
small enclosure she was fenced in. There was no grass in the pen --
only dirt and a metal feeding dish. Every time a vehicle drove by,
she'd run with it, smiling, tail wagging, until she hit the back
fence. She'd then bounce around and run to the other end.
She seemed frantic to find a friend in the passing cars. Her
behavior haunted Terrence, so after he finished his call he drove by
the business, hoping to speak with the owners about the dog. The
office was closed for the lunch hour.
When he got back to the office, he dialed the business and spoke
with the receptionist. He learned that the dog was kept there all
the time and had been there for just under a year. He told the
receptionist that should the owner decide to get rid of the dog, he
would love to be notified.
Two weeks before Christmas Terrence got a phone call.
The owners of the auto parts yard had sold the business. They
could no longer keep the Black Lab. Did he still want her?
* * *
She came home as an early Christmas gift. She had never been
given a name. Tammy named her Mazy.
Tammy had hung a stocking on the mantelpiece for Mazy and come
Christmas morn, Mazy quietly walked over to the stocking filled with
doggie goodies, and gently pulled it off the hook. She then padded
over to Terrence and held the stocking out for him.
Terrence thought Mazy wanted him to pull the little doo-dads out
of the stocking so she could have them. So, Terrence took the
stocking and laid it on the floor, tipping out some of the contents,
then sat back so he could watch Mazy enjoy her gifts.
To his surprise, Mazy nosed the items that had rolled out, back
into the stocking, then she gripped the stocking in her teeth and
handed it back to Terrence. Her gift to him.
When Terrence glanced over at his wife they both chuckled while
at the same time blinking back happy tears. The true gift that
Christmas had been the welcoming of Mazy into their family.
Blessed with a loving, giving spirit, Mazy became a therapy dog,
at the urging of Mazy's obedience trainer Doug -- a close family
friend. Doug volunteered with a group from the local SPCA and every
Thursday they visited one of the convalescent hospitals.
Mazy was a natural in the art of caring and brightening the
spirits of the residents they visited. She became very popular and
had attracted the interest of the press.
During the Christmas holidays, a year ago, a local television
station did a special on therapy dogs and the benefits they bestow on
patients in care facilities. Mazy was the star of the show and had
garnered an even greater following.
Soon after, while Terrence was at work and Tammy was out on
errands, someone broke the lock on the backyard gate. When Tammy got
home, Mazy was gone.
All efforts to locate her were unsuccessful and the loss of
their gentle fur girl was a wound that dug deep into their hearts.
* * *
Tammy nudged her husband. "Come on into the family room. I
have two steaming mugs of chocolate and Irish Cream waiting for us in
front of the fireplace. You can build a fire and we will relax
before the guests arrive later."
Terrence followed his wife into the room. From the stack of
wood near the hearth he prepared the fireplace. As he bent over he
heard that familiar sound of nails and paws on wood. He shook his
head, just as a weight dropped on his shoulders and back. Tammy
gasped loudly and Terrence spun around.
Mazy, covering his face with sloppy kisses and doggy-breathed
pants. Terrence threw his arms around his fur girl.
It was a dream. A dream, surely.
He heard the rustling of paper at his ear and drew back. There
in Mazy's collar was a handwritten note.
Terrence sat back on his heels, gazed into Mazy's warm brown
eyes. A cold draft filled the room. The front door was ajar, the
porch light on. The sound of a car pulling out of their driveway.
Tammy took the note and as she began to read, Terrence sank his
hands into the warm ruff of Mazy's neck and hugged her long, and well.
* * *
"I have a feeling your Christmas just got merrier, and mine a
little sadder. Over six years ago my wife, Donna, found an ebony
colored pup on our doorstep. She doted on her and the pup became a
member of our family.
"As the pup grew, she'd often disappear for days at a time.
Frantic at first, we would chase after her, search for her
everywhere. Each time we'd find her in the company of a human who,
for various reasons, was in need of a friend. She did this so often
we started calling her Chasy. One day she did not return.
"Eighteen months ago Donna was diagnosed with advanced Alzheimers.
"On Christmas Day last year your Black Lab scratched on our
front door. She looked so much like our Chasy. I started calling her
by that name. She and my wife were inseparable until her death three
"After the funeral, Chasy took a small Christmas stocking off
the mantel, came over and laid it in my lap. She whimpered, then
trotted to the front door and scratched at it to be let out.
"I opened the door. Chasy walked over to the hedges and began
digging. In a few moments she returned -- a dirty collar in her
mouth. She then made soft talking sounds and dropped the collar at
"As I picked it up I noticed two grimy tags -- a license tag and
an ID tag. Mazy... I couldn't believe it. Her name so like our
Chasy's. I looked from the tag to the Black Lab before me. Mazy's
expression went from hopeful to wistful.
"Mazy leaned into me, her weight against my legs like the
embrace of an old friend. She looked up at me and I knew her visit
was over -- she wanted to go home.
"I had cleaned her collar and the tags jingled brightly as I
slipped it over her head. I then bent down and sobbed into her shiny
"It was a quiet ride for the two of us, as I drove to your
place. When I reached over to open the door to let Mazy out, she
nudged my wrist, licked my hand and sighed.
"In my sadness and grief, I had forgotten this letter. I pulled
the note out of my shirt pocket to write the final words. I finished
and glanced at Mazy. She extended her head, urging me to place the
note in her collar as we had practiced.
"Thank you, from a stranger who's been warmed by sunlight,
wrapped in the shiniest black fur I have ever seen. Welcome her
well. When you hug her, please hug her for me. I couldn't do so to
say good-bye for fear I'd not let her go."
* * *
"Do you still have her stocking?" Terrence asked his wife.
"I sure do," her answer, tearful. She then gave a faint smile
as tears spilled from her eyes.
Mazy wagged her tail, uttered a whine of understanding. She
turned to look back at the front door, still ajar, and sighed.
Both of her humans were sniffling, talking in soft voices, and
watching their fur girl.
"Are you happy to be home, girl?"
Mazy padded over to the front door, stepped up to it, then
turned so that her rump brushed heavily against the wood, shutting
Mazy trotted over to her humans, stood between them and hung her
head. Terrence and Tammy gratefully bent over and embraced her.
Mazy's long powerful tail began wagging fiercely and a smile graced
her ebony face.
Out front, parked across the street from the couple's home, a
man thought fondly of his wife and of the blessing that had graced
their lives the past year in the form of a shiny Black Lab.
Before driving away for good, he lifted his head and gave thanks to God.
-- Copyright 2006 Angus MacFurgus's human