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Old Man & a Dog,

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Nikster, Jan 22, 2008.

  1. A long read, about the time it takes for a 1/2 a smoke? Not as long as you might think but it may may a difference to SOMEONE?

    The Old Man and the Dog

    (by Catherine Moore)


    "Watch out! You nearly broad sided that car!" My father yelled
    at me. "Can't you do anything right?"

    Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the
    elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A
    lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn't prepared
    for another battle.

    "I saw the car, Dad. Please don't yell at me when I'm driving."
    My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than
    I really felt.

    Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back. At home I
    left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect
    my thoughts. Dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise
    of rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner
    turmoil. What could I do about him?

    Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon. He had
    enjoyed being outdoors and had reveled in pitting his
    strength against the forces of nature. He had entered
    grueling lumberjack competitions, and had placed often. The
    shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to
    his prowess.

    The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn't
    lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same
    day I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it. He became
    irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing age, or
    when he couldn't do something he had done as a younger man.

    Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart
    attack. An ambulance sped him to the hospital while a
    paramedic administered CPR to keep blood and oxygen flowing. At
    the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was
    lucky; he survived. But something inside Dad died. His zest
    for life was gone. He obstinately refused to follow doctor's
    orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with
    sarcasm and insults. The number of visitors thinned, then
    finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone.

    My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our
    small farm. We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere
    would help him adjust. Within a week after he moved in, I
    regretted the invitation.It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He
    criticized everything I did. I became frustrated and moody. Soon
    I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick. We began to bicker
    and argue. Alarmed, Dick sought out ourpastor and
    explained the situation. The clergyman set up weekly counseling
    appointments for us. At the close of each session he prayed,
    asking God to s oothe Dad's troubled mind. But the months wore
    on and God was silent. Something had to be done and it was up to
    me to do it.

    The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically
    called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow
    Pages. I explained my problem to each of the sympathetic voices
    that answered. In vain. Just when I was giving up hope, one of
    the voices suddenly exclaimed, "I just read something that might
    help you! Let me go get the article." I listened as she
    read. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing
    home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic
    depression. Yet their attitudes had improved dramatically when
    they were given responsibility for a dog.

    I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon. After I filled out
    a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The
    odor of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row
    of pens. Each contained five to seven dogs.
    Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs
    all jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied each one
    but rejected one after the other for various reasons: too big,
    too small, too much hair. As I neared the last pen a dog in the
    shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the
    front of the run and sat down. It was a pointer, one of the dog
    world's aristocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed.
    Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray. His
    hipbones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes
    that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld
    me unwaveringly. I pointed to the dog. "Can you tell me about
    him?" The officer looked, then shook his head in puzzlement.
    "He's a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of
    the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone would be right
    down to claim him. That was two weeks ago and we've heard
    nothing. His time is up tomorrow." He gestured helplessly.

    As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror. "You mean
    you're going to kill him?"

    "Ma'am," he said gently, "that's our policy. We don't have room
    for every unclaimed dog."

    I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited my
    decision. "I'll take him," I said.

    I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I
    reached the house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my
    prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch.

    "Ta-da! Look what I got for you, Dad!" I said excitedly.

    Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. "If I had wanted
    a dog I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a
    better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don't want
    it" Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the
    house.

    Anger rose inside me. It squeezed together my throat muscles and
    pounded into my temples.

    "You'd better get used to him, Dad. He's staying!" Dad ignored
    me.

    "Did you hear me, Dad?" I screamed. At those words Dad whirled
    angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and
    blazing with hate.

    We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the
    pointer pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and
    sat down in front of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his
    paw.

    Dad's lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw.
    Confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited
    patiently. Then Dad was on his knees hugging the animal.

    It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship. Dad
    named the pointer Cheyenne. Together he and Cheyenne
    explored the community. They spent long hours walking down
    dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on the banks of
    streams, angling for tasty trout. They even started to attend
    Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and
    Cheyenne lying quietly at his feet.

    Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three
    years. Dad's bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne
    made many friends. Then late one night I was startled to
    feel Cheyenne's cold nose burrowingthrough our bed covers. He
    had never before come into our bedroom at night. I woke Dick,
    put on my robe and ran into my father's room. Dad lay in his
    bed, his face serene. But his spirit had left quietly
    sometime during the night.

    Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered
    Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad's bed. I wrapped his still form
    in the rag rug he had slept on. As Dick and I buried him near a
    favorite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help
    he had given me in restoring Dad's peace of mind.

    The morning of Dad's funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This
    day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the
    aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see
    the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church.
    The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to both Dad and
    the dog who had changed his life. And then the pastor turned to
    Hebrews 13:2. "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers."

    "I've often thanked God for sending that angel," he said.

    For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I
    had not seen before: the sympathetic voice that had just read
    the right article...Cheyenne's unexpected appearance at the
    animal shelter. . his calm acceptance and complete devotion to
    my father. . .and the proximity of their deaths. And suddenly I
    understood. I knew that God had answered my prayers after all.

    Life is too short for drama & petty things, so laugh hard, love
    truly and forgive quickly.

    Live While You Are Alive.

    Tell the people you love that you love them, at every
    opportunity.

    Forgive now those who made you cry. You might not get a second
    time.
     
  2. thanks for posting, well worth the read.
     

  3. snake69

    snake69 Equal opportunity fishing

    A good moral to the story and very touching....