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 colour 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 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.

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 grief.

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 final visit.

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-coloured 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.

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 vet 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.

"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 then glanced down at Preston.  "You know, sometimes we see more clearly through tear washed eyes."

 

  -- Kathy Anne Pippig <kathy.pippig at yahoo.com>

 This beautiful story appeared in Petwarmers.com in April.

Kathy is the local animal news writer for the Examiner.com, as well as contributing stories and articles for other magazines, ezines, and newspapers.  She is the author of five published books, including one about her personal experience with cancer.  She is a strong advocate for animal rescue and adoption -- and for reaching out to senior dogs in need of loving, forever homes.

 

 

 




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