воскресенье, 3 марта 2013 г.

Puppy Playdates

By Lynn Hartz

Dogs love company. They place it first in their short list of needs.
~J.R. Ackerley

A white Poodle with beige ears showed up the night before Christmas on our doorstep. We advertised and put up notices so that the rightful owners could claim their dog. When no one claimed him, we kept him. My daughters were sure that Santa must have brought him to us. After all, it was Christmas Eve and they wanted a dog! The first night he was in our house he went directly upstairs to the bedroom where my two daughters slept and jumped onto one of their beds. Since it had been snowing outside, the dog was wet.
"He looks just like a wet noodle!" said Nell, laughing as she petted him. "Noodles" was his name from that moment on.

Noodles adjusted well to his new home. He had many health problems but we learned to care for him. He loved the girls, and Hope, my younger daughter, claimed him as "her dog." He also adjusted well to the female dog, Wendy, who lived two doors away. Wendy and Noodles had a love affair, which resulted in Pepper, who ended up being adopted by some neighbors.

Noodles, Wendy, and Pepper weren't the only dogs in the neighborhood, and it wasn't long before Noodles met them all and became friends. They would go on daily jaunts around the neighborhood. There were at least six of them that went walking together every day, and, no, they didn't take a human with them. Every morning at 10 o'clock, Pepper would come and knock on our door. Noodles would come prancing to the door. He could not wait to go outside with his son. The two of them sniffed each other and started walking off toward Wendy's house. She left her yard and went with them as they started up the hill to pick up other neighbor dogs.

When Noodles got older, he would be the last to be picked up by the "gang." Pepper and his friends would come to the door for Noodles almost every day at ten o'clock in the morning, and it was always Pepper who knocked on the door.

Over time, Noodles' early health problems caught up with him, and he was also hit by a car. His neighborhood buddies still came around and we still let him go out because we knew Pepper and the other dog pals would watch over Noodles. Wendy wasn't around anymore, which was sad, but the others still came. Pepper knocked on the door at 10 o'clock every morning.

After thirteen wonderful years with Noodles, he finally passed on one day. The next day there was a knock on the door. I knew who it was and didn't know if I could handle it or not. I opened the door and began to cry. It was Pepper, of course.

I went outside and sat down on the stoop. I petted Pepper and told him what had happened and that Noodles wasn't here anymore. I told him how much Noodles loved him and cried into his big shaggy body. Pepper looked sad and I am sure he knew what I was telling him. He didn't leave until I got up, brushed myself off, wiped my eyes, and went back inside the house.

The next morning at 10 o'clock, the silence was louder than any knock I had ever heard.

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