Fiction: A Dog Named Christmas
(Page 4 of 17)
The woman at the shelter, whose name was Beth, wore blue jeans and a dusty green down-filled vest bisected by a long black braid. She reached out and took Todd’s big hand in hers and held it for a moment.
“Pick any one you want. That’s the way the program works,” she said before turning and walking away busily.
This was a very important decision for my son, and I did not want to rush him. I found a bench and read the paper while Todd walked up and down the rows of cages to find just the right companion for Christmas.
The floor had recently been washed, and the smell of chlorine bleach hung in the air along with various animal odors. My ears were filled with the sound of whining, barking and metal dog bowls scraping the concrete floor. I watched Todd – part man, part boy – move slowly up and down the aisles. If there were angels for animals, then Todd surely was one.
Beth worked her way back toward Todd, seeming to like the way he studied each animal. I noticed that she didn’t try to push him toward one of the dogs who was less likely to be adopted. Instead, she offered explanations for each dog’s condition.
“That one has lived in a cage most of his life,” she said. “His owner thought that because he was a hunting dog, it would ruin him to run around the yard.”
Todd kept coming back to a large black Lab mix.
“He’s an older dog,” Beth explained. “You can tell by the gray around the muzzle. He’s quiet, too, not a barker.”
“What’s his name?” I heard Todd ask.
Beth looked on the door for information. When she found none, she just shrugged her shoulders.
“I don’t know,” she said. “I guess he just showed up. They do that sometimes.”
Todd seemed to hesitate, so I walked toward them. I gently rested my hand on Todd’s arm to get his attention.
“Should we get him out and look him over?” I asked.
Todd didn’t answer, but Beth instantly got the dog out. He stood still while Beth ran her fingers through the gray and black hair on the nape of his neck. Beth then stooped down so she was at the dog’s eye level and stared into his face for a few moments.
The dog had warm green eyes that showed a certain patient wisdom. After sizing him up, Beth placed a collar around his neck, and the dog suddenly became excited, as if he knew he’d been chosen. She led him a few feet one way, then turned and led him back the other way. He didn’t act like an animal that had been in a cage for weeks or even days.
“He minds well, though he seems to have some stiffness in his haunches,” Beth told us.
Page: << Previous 1
| 4 | 5
| Next >>