She Was a Rescue Puppy

She was a rescue puppy. Her golden brown coat was shiny and clean and there was a black tip on her tail. She was curled up in a small cage inside the bright lights and white floors of Pet Smart, her cage lined up with a dozen other crates all filled with dogs of various shapes, sizes, and colors.

My two girls, ages six and three, moved quickly along the cages eyeing all the animals until they stopped at the end. There she was. She looked up at them first with her eyes and then raised her head from her front paws. Her tongue came out for a moment and she almost smiled.

My wife chatted with the rescue ladies and they nearly talked her into the deal. She had traded phone numbers and was excited.

As they talked, several people came down the row of cages. They paid the most attention to the golden puppy. The teenage girls fawned over her and stroked her sides. Old men patted her head. Mothers pushing strollers stopped and tugged on her ears. This was, by far, the most beautiful puppy in the whole group.

“Come on, girls,” I said softly, and I knew this was a bad idea. “Let’s go to the bookstore and get a book about puppies first, before we bring one home.”

Driving home I looked at my wife. She turned to me, her blonde hair falling in curls around her neck, and she looked beautiful in the late afternoon light. Her expression was clear: she frowned and shook her head. We were returning home empty-handed. No dog.

Then another sight caught my eye, and my stomach felt hollow and my throat was full. My six-year-old daughter sat in the back seat with tears silently streaming down her soft face.

“Oh, Snugs,” I said. “Are you crying because…”

“I’m crying because I don’t have a puppy,” she said. Her lip quivered and she wiped the tears from her big, brown eyes. Her name was Jena, but I had started calling her Snugs when she was a few days old. She had been a snuggly baby, wrapped in a blue, white and pink blanket, her inky dark eyes full of warmth and her smile so cheerful and new. Now she was a big girl, but my nickname for her had stuck.

“No puppy,” said Annabelle, her three-year old bottom lip stuck out long and thick. She sat in her car seat with her arms crossed.

I kept driving.

After a few moments I looked again at my wife, who had been watching a single white cloud float along far out in the open sky.

“Call them,” I said. She turned quickly and looked at me. Her back straightened and she leaned forward.

“What?”

“Yes, call them,” I said. “Ask if they still have that golden puppy.”

“Everybody loved that puppy. There’s no way it’s still there. Somebody has adopted it.”

“Give it a shot.”

She called and her face went happy, with a long, broad grin and her white teeth flashed and she giggled after she put down her cell phone.

“They have her and say they’ll hold her for us.”

“Let’s go get our puppy,” I said.

The girls were in shock. Daddy had come through. Daddy was going to get them a puppy. Daddy was a hero.

Driving home, Annabelle clasped her little hands together in prayer; her fingertips and palms touching.

“Dear God, thank you for our puppy. Amen,” she said.

The tag on the dog read London, Ky. So when we got home and let her prance around on the carpet, we decided to name her something beautiful.

“London!” said Jena, reading the tag.

The name stuck.

London played in the yard and ran. She ran under a tree. She ran under the swing set. She ran to the girls and then back to the tree. She saw a bird across the green grass and her right front paw bent at the joint, her head trained on the bird. She ran. But she didn’t catch the bird.

London lived with us for almost three months. But on the day of a neighborhood cookout, we came home to find a tragic sight. My wife screamed and hurried me upstairs to tell me in secret. She had found London in the small bathroom next to our kitchen.

“She’s dead,” she whispered. Her eyes were filled with tears and her face was pink. She was shaking. “It’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen,” she said through clenched teeth.

I went back downstairs and went into the small bathroom, closing the door behind me so the girls wouldn’t see in the room.

London lay next to the sink. A Tostitos bag was over her face and I pulled it off easily and quickly. Her eyes were open and her tongue stuck out on the far side of her jaw. I was stunned. My head pounded and I needed to sit down but I didn’t. My legs weakened. I felt her side and knew she was not breathing; she was stone dead.

I closed the bathroom door and went back into the kitchen. I nodded to my wife.

“Girls,” she said. “Let’s go back to the cookout for a little bit.” She led them into the garage and asked me to clean up.

I returned to the bathroom. I held the chip bag in my hand for a few moments and looked at London. I felt a wet drop seep out of one of my eyes, and then another tear crept out of the other.

“Why, girl?” I asked in my mind. I said nothing but held back the rest of my tears.

I took the chip bag into the kitchen and threw it away. It had been on the counter, and she must have reached up and grabbed it, buried her nose in the bag, and after she finished the few remaining chips, the bag had suctioned onto her snout, suffocating her.

London’s flash of life was over.

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Shakespeare’s Sonnet 15

Sonnet 15

William Shakespeare

When I consider every thing that grows
Holds in perfection but a little moment,
That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows
Whereon the stars in secret influence comment;
When I perceive that men as plants increase,
Cheered and cheque’d even by the self-same sky,
Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease,
And wear their brave state out of memory;
Then the conceit of this inconstant stay
Sets you most rich in youth before my sight,
Where wasteful Time debateth with Decay,
To change your day of youth to sullied night;
And all in war with Time for love of you,
As he takes from you, I engraft you new.

 

I haven’t read every poem out there just yet. But of the countless that I have read, this is my favorite and has been since I first had the glorious chance to happen upon it some 15 years ago. At the time, I remember saying to someone, “And he is pretty much just known for his plays, right?” -DKL

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The only bird that flies…

If you ever get the chance to go to the Museum d’Orsay in Paris, France, I suggest you drink a bottle of wine next door first and sneak in through the gift shop. My wife and I did this on our honeymoon. We didn’t do it to steal the price of the tickets, we were leaving the next day and the two-hour long line had been halted because of a burst of rain.

Inside this lovely place there are too many magical sights to take in on one day’s visit. One painting that will capture your imagination is

Andre Devambez (1867-1944),

Le seul oiseau qui vole au-dessus des nuages,

The Only Bird that Flies Above the Clouds, 1910.

The canvas was covered with a mass of cumulus clouds, white like cotton, shadowed on their bottoms, full and radiant. In the dense clouds sat a pale shadow of a small plane. Above the shadow was a yellow aircraft, fragile and small, with a single pilot. Under him was an opening in the cloud bank, a window to a world thousands of feet below. A river snaked along between fields of green, brown, and yellow shapes. Wonderful stuff.

"The Only Bird that Flies Above the Clouds"

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Watering flowers

Ah, the peace of flowers and trees

Like most days, today I watered the flowers and trees in my yard.

This photo was taken on one of my many trips to the Henry Clay Estate in Lexington, KY. An hour there will give you peace and joy that lasts quite a while. I suggest going someplace like this as much as you can.

 
I have very little free time to write, but I plan on writing little tid bits on this blog as much as possible, mostly for myself, but hopefully you will share with me some of the joy of life. Flowers and trees are a big step in the right direction.
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