Sneaking into Our Hearts
By Katy Curry ©
It was a hot August afternoon; the Florida heat sapped the life right out of a being. It was about 3:30 PM and there seemed no break in sight from the ‘Dog Days’ of late summer.
Frank walked out to his truck and began to climb in when he sensed a movement from the corner of his eye. A dog was in the bed of the truck and trying to scramble to its feet; trying and failing.
“Well, little Missy, where did you come from? I don’t remember coming to school with a dog today.” Frank said to her. He called to his friend, “Hey, Robbie, get a load of this! There’s a dog in my truck! Looks in pretty bad shape too!”
“Where’d you get the dog, Frank?” Seems like she needs some water at least. I got a bowl in my car, let’s get her some water.”
“Dang, man! That’s about the filthiest bowl I’ve seen! You got stuff growing in that?” Frank backed off in disgust. “That’s gotta be cleaned before we put something in it for the dog!”
“Oh, now you’re Mr. Clean?” Robbie taunted. “Oh, alright, I’ll go try to clean it out.” Robbie rolled his eyes at Frank. He returned a bit later wiping the bowl down with some paper towels, and it was somewhat more decent. They filled it with water and returned to the truck. Missy drank as if it was her last bit of water, her tail wagged, and she gave Frank a lick. He was in love.
“What are you going to do with her?” Robbie asked.
“What else, take her home to Mom, you know Mom can’t turn down a hard luck story and Missy is one if I ever saw it,” Frank replied.
Frank drove right to his mother’s house with the dog, now named Missy, tied in the back. He lifted her out of the truck and was shocked to feel what he swore was every bone in her body.
She stood proudly and shook herself thoroughly as if trying to put on her prettiest face. She was a small blonde German Shepherd with lively brown eyes and puppyish antics.
Frank gazed at her, wishing he could keep her. “How could anyone do this to you, girl? Well, let’s go in and meet your Mom and do some pretty fast talking.”
Frank walked into the house making sure Missy as far behind him as he could. “Hi, Mom!”
“This is a surprise! I thought you would be off to school tonight! What is the occasion? I have Patrick’s dinner all ready, if you have a few minutes, you can feed him.” Mom beamed her pleasure at seeing her son.
“Daa!” Frank heard his son Patrick’s squeal of delight. He dropped Missy’s rope and went into the living room to see his son.
“Hey, Buddy! Did you have a good day today?” He asked as he swept Patrick up in his arms.
“I’d say he did,” Frank’s father answered. He helped me down at work, took a long nap. By the way, what was that you came in with?”
Before Frank could answer Patrick, who had struggled out of his arms, gave a delighted squeal. Dad and Frank turned and saw Mom and Patrick enjoying Missy. She was enthusiastically licking Patrick’s face.
“Someone left her tied up in the back of my truck. She was dying of thirst, and I think she is starved. She is skin and bones! Besides, look, Patrick has a best friend!” Frank did his best to convince his parents to keep yet another animal.
“Dear, she’ll be okay. Look how good she is with Patrick and I would bet she is already housebroken. We can share dinner with her tonight and tomorrow I’ll get her some dog food and a trip to the vet. It’s no trouble.” Mom cajoled.
Missy had a reprieve. Mom put some meatloaf in a bowl for the starved dog which she inhaled the food. She looked around for more, and the combination of sad brown eyes and her blonde fur made her look positively angelic and hungry. Shaking her head, Mom pulled some bills out of her wallet. Frank, go to the store, get some Alpo and some good dog food, not the cheap stuff, you don’t need to get a huge bag, just enough for a few days. Oh, her some of those ‘snausage’ sticks too, you know what I mean.”
Frank grinned and turned to go. Patrick set up a wail seeing his daddy go.
“You want to come, Bud?” Frank picked Patrick up and headed toward the door. “We’ll be back!”
Patrick called out too, “Bye Papa!” Those wee the first words Patrick said.
“Well, I’ll be!” Papa remarked. “He said my name!” Mom just stood speechlessly and then as she felt Missy against her leg she realized the dog probably needed to go out. She ran out the door in time to stop Frank.
“Frank, she needs a collar and a leash. Your son needs diapers.” Frank rolled his eyes.
“Okay, Mom, hope I remember all that,” Frank replied.
“Forget and you’re going back!” Mom quipped. “Bye, Patrick, can you tell Nana Bye?”
Patrick looked at Nana, “Bye.”
Frank drove off and Mom called Missy. “Let’s see if you can stay with me; we don’t want accidents in the house, young lady!” Mom said to Missy. They walked around the yard, Missy always looking to make sure Mom was pleased, her tail wagging the whole time. Eventually, she relieved herself, and Mom was thrilled and let Missy know it. That dog danced across the yard, knowing she was a good girl.
They went back into the house, and Missy set about investigating every room. She met Kahlua, the greyhound who was the princess of the house and then met Big Guy, a big black cat who just took everything in stride. Missy finally settled on the carpet next to the white couch, which was where Mom sat. She had staked her claim. Kahlua came in and after a long look, settled at the other end of the couch. Big Guy just looked at both of them and padded to the back bedroom.
Frank eventually came home, had to go back for diapers, but Missy got a small second meal. Mom decided it would be a ‘whatever’ night so there would be no formal dinner, everyone could fix their plate and eat where they wanted.
Missy became Mom’s shadow. Kahlua did not realize that not everyone was wonderful, so Missy would never leave Mom’s side except if Patrick was there. She became Patrick’s pull toy, his guardian, his blanket.
Missy became a vital and integral part of life. She always seemed to know what to do to try to help her people, especially Mom.
That is how precious Missy came to live with us those many years ago. When I took her to the vet, he was amazed she was alive, he called her “Methuselah” and joked that someone had forgotten to tell her she was an old lady in dog years. She was a perfect dog and a joy to have as a friend. I miss her.