One of the things I love about being a writer is that at least half of the people on my personal Facebook page are writers. Most of them write fiction, I write non-fiction only, but it’s always an interesting feed no matter who responds. I’ve also learned that I will cry at least once a day and yesterday was no different.
USA Today bestselling author Mindy Klasky learned to read when her parents shoved a book in her hands and told her she could travel anywhere in the world through stories. She never forgot that advice.
I think I love being friends with writers because telling stories is the best way to engage people and when we do that magic happens.
If you have followed us for even a little while you know that we rescue a lot of dogs and we don’t stop at the easy-to-adopt puppies or the why-bother-writing-a-bio dogs. No, we bring in seniors and tri-pods, and those with seizures, or hard of hearing, or even those with behavioral issues. We believe every dog deserves a chance. Our dogs come from a high-kill shelter with a ticking clock. Most people don’t want to invest money, time, and love into a dog who might not be around for as long as a dog who is young or without health issues. Mindy posted this on her page today and after I stopped crying I asked for permission to share it with you. She agreed and said that she hopes that her story will find a home for just one dog. I have a feeling it will help find homes for many dogs.
Feel free to visit her site and send her an email. This is my suggestion and not hers. After this you’ll see why I love writers.
This story had an ending I didn’t expect…
About two months ago, a neighbor’s dog started barking. At night. A lot. I’d never met the neighbor (one street over, but their back yard backs onto the side of our back yard), but I figured they got a puppy for Christmas. I hoped that they’d start to train the puppy and everything would get better.
It didn’t get better.
Last Friday night, I was awakened at 11:30, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:30. (Our windows were closed, and I sleep with earplugs.)
On Saturday, I walked over to the neighbor’s house to introduce myself and to discuss the problem. I rang the doorbell, but they didn’t answer. I returned home, and I wrote a letter — polite, but necessarily confrontational — asking if we could correspond to discuss options, including their possibly not letting the dog out four or more times a night, or their staying with the dog when they let it out so that it didn’t bark to be let back in. While I was writing the letter, I could see Ms. Neighbor on her screened-in porch, which just made me crankier, because she’d been home when I knocked but screened my visit with her doorbell camera. (I’ve still *never* seen the dog.)
I delivered the letter, fully anticipating either no reply or a “get over yourself” reply, by either email or text.
An hour later, there was a knock at our door. Mark came with me as I answered. There was Ms. and Mr. Neighbor, carrying a bottle of wine.
I invited them in, and we sat down to talk. The first words out of their mouths were apologies. The second words were an explanation that the problem wasn’t going to last long. Their beloved eleven-year-old dog has been diagnosed with advanced, now-untreatable bladder cancer. They don’t know how much longer they have with her, but they know it isn’t long, so they’re sleeping on the floor of their living room and waking up at one-or two-hour intervals to let her out when she needs to go. She barks when one of the neighborhood foxes has been in her territory, even when Mr. and Mrs. N. try to lure her to silence with her favorite lamb treats. (The foxes are *everywhere* this year!)
By the end of the story, Mark and I were sniffling. We chatted with Mr. and Mrs. Neighbor for a while longer, and they went home. That evening, we *didn’t* hear the dog barking, and we feared that she’d died.
The dog *did* bark around two. And she kept to her “normal” schedule on Sunday night. But now, when she wakes me up, I actually feel glad — it means she’s still with her people, and she’s still strong enough to bark.
Today, I went to the pet store, and I bought her a toy shaped like a fox, along with some venison and lamb treats. I bought her people some chocolates, too.
And I know I’m going to be really sad when I don’t hear her bark anymore…