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40 Shades Of Dog Love
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40 Shades Of Dog Love

With heart breaking and tears streaming down his face, my Daddy stumbled toward the back yard carrying Old Jim in his sturdy arms. Jim had been the undisputed best bird dog around - a gentle and humble dog, he was wise in the art of bird hunting, and he had won the hearts of many bird hunters in the lower part of the county in which we lived. He had lived a good life, with every hunter around having a bitch dog in-season competing for his (free) stud services, and he certainly lived a favored dog’s life in our household.

But today with aging eyes and failing ears, old Jim had forgotten to stop, look, and listen before he crossed the street in front of our home.

So aware of the tender love that existed between this man and his dog, and to witness the raw hurt on my Dad’s face left an indelible memory on my young mind. I do not remember telling anyone of what I saw that day, and looking back, I realize that I felt like an intruder on a private moment between Daddy and Old Jim. I did not understand it at that time, but I now realize that I have always felt a bit of guilt for looking out the bedroom window just at the moment they passed by on that fateful day.

Daddy’s last significant dog, and constant companion, was Festus - who went everywhere with him. I could not tell you the breed of Festus, but he was a kind, good-natured, black and white short-haired dog, with a big head and sturdy body. He took on Daddy’s personality and they could sit for hours watching old movies with not a word passing between them, and I honestly believe those two knew what the other was thinking. When Daddy laughed, Festus grinned – he seemed pleased when Daddy was happy. I can still see Festus proudly (and patiently) wearing a pair of faux sunglasses Daddy had fashioned from a white clothes hanger. What a pair those two were sitting side-by-side in that old red Ford truck and headed-out-to-who-knows-where!

Daddy has been gone now over thirteen years, and Old Jim and Festus had gone on to their rewards many years before. Daddy always had dogs, and he had special relationships with each of them - that was just the way it always was. And although he had many friends (some very good and loyal friends) I think he considered his dogs his confidants, his most trusted friends. Those dogs loved and accepted him just as he was and did not care if he told the same old joke over and over again! I am so very grateful for the lessons my sisters and I learned from watching our Daddy (and our Mother who also shared his love for dogs) interact and care for his beloved dogs.


Street Talk

Love reading this article. Thinking of Daddy since his birthday was yesterday, doesn't seem possible he has been gone this long. He loved his dogs! A person who loves animals has a BIG HEART!

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Animal loves definitely have big hearts - they are special people!

Reply
  about 5 years ago
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