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Brian's visit
by Karin Butts 
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KARIN Carstens

Mindy was the last in line of four Boston terrier’s that had resided at Ann Compton’s house spanning more than four decades. She was the best, but so were all the others before her. Ann, getting on in years, was alone except for a cantankerous cat she had rescued from the shelter one day for no specific reason. She was reluctant to try for another dog. She abhorred the idea of leaving her pets behind.
Eight months had passed since Mindy passed away and Ann had moments of utter loneliness longing for a dog. Her daughter had at first offered to get her a pet but the time was never right. Ann had prayed sporadically that the perfect dog might just appear and she would be content with it.
In the fall, her daughter called to let her know to expect her young grandson’s visit for a few days.
“And Mom, I want to let you know that Brian intends to buy you a dog. He is bringing every cent of the money he has saved up so be prepared.”
When eleven-year-old Brian had finished unpacking he came into the kitchen and plunked a wad of money onto the table.
“Grandma I brought all the money I have. I want to buy you a dog. I don’t think you should be alone anymore.” He flattened the crumpled dollar bills and counted. “Twenty-two dollars!” He slapped the last dollar down on the top of the others. “Now let me tell you what I have in mind,” he said. His face was serious as if he were negotiating a business deal. “The dog should be mature, not too big, and not too small.” His hands gestured the estimated size from the floor up about a foot. “He should have a short nose, sort of like a pug. I really like a Pug.”
“Well that is the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me!” Ann said giving her young guest a big hug. “I suppose we’ll get busy tomorrow morning and see what we can find.” She tried disguising her apprehension with a cheerful voice. The only place to get the expensive terrier breed she had in mind for twenty-two dollars would of course be the city pound. “And what shall we plan to do with our time together?” she asked wanting to make memorable moments of his visit.
“Nothing really, I just want to concentrate first on the dog, I hope we can find a Pug.”
Ann didn't have the faintest idea what type of dog a Pug would turn out to be and, knowing the terrier breed so well she sincerely hoped to find one. It would be a miracle.
Day one at the pound was a miserable failure. Just walking through the kennel of barking and whining dogs turned Ann’s stomach. She was an avid lover of dogs and had always subdued her greatest desire in life, to buy a farm and set all the poor caged dogs free on the land.
Day two was no better but a kindly attendant took notice of the boy with his grandmother looking despaired and soon they were engaged in a lively conversation. The attendant was anticipating having a Boston terrier, a Pomeranian, and a Poodle out in the adoption kennel by the next day.
Day three started with happy anticipation. They arrived punctually as the doors opened and a line of people filtered into the busy facility. Small dogs were always in demand the attendant had warned. By noon, the larger breeds were all that remained in the kennels.
Brian made a quick sprint through the corridor ducking low to look at every dog inside and when he turned at the end, Ann saw that he had no success. Shoulders slouched he walked back, dragging, hands deep in his pockets and head hanging low.
“There is the kind lady from yesterday,” Ann said grabbing his hand.
Surgery was backed up and they had to postpone putting the dogs out for another day. The woman hoped that they would come out tomorrow.
“But you need to get here right at eleven or you may miss the one you want,” she reminded them again.
“Shall we go shopping or to the movies or just have some fun at the playground?” Ann offered feeling time slip away. Brian would be leaving soon and she had no hope left of finding the perfect dog. She had felt nauseous for three days just visiting the shelter.
“Naw, I don’t really feel like it,” said Brian lying down on the bed watching a re-run of a sitcom.
Day four- they were almost late getting to the city pound. A long throng of people stood at the door. Brian disappeared wiggling his way to the front of the line and when the door opened, he squeezed through and ran toward the kennel followed by his disheartened grandmother. What was she to do? It was going to be their last try today and she could not bear to disappoint him. She had made it clear that she trusted God to provide a dog and if there was not going to be one today it was not His will. Brian had agreed but she knew his heart was not in it.
When she came to the kennel Brian squatted squarely in front of a cage half way down the corridor waving with both hands.
“Grandma, here he is, hurry!” His face was beaming. She looked into the darkness of the cage and saw two frightened brown eyes staring at them at the far end of the cage. She looked at the sign hanging above the cage door, ‘Boston Terrier, two years old, female.’ Tears filled Ann’s eyes as she read the description. She looked again, and her eyes adjusting to the dark, she saw the most beautiful dog she had ever seen.
“Go get the lady while I wait here,” she said not wanting to let anything interfere with Brian’s find.
The woman took the dog out to the fenced area to let them get acquainted. She was a perfect dog, mature, not too big, or too small, as Brian had proposed and fully trained. Within minutes, he decided that the black and white dog would do since it did have a short nose and no tail. He seemed ready to sacrifice his desire for a brown Pug.
Ann went to do the paperwork and Brian stayed at the cage. Shortly he appeared frowning.
“She growled at me when I stuck my finger through the wire,” he whispered and stayed by her side. The lady came carrying the dog with a new red collar and leash. They prepared to leave the building.

“Wait just a minute,” said an attendant carrying an instrument. “I have to check the chip implant.” He bent down only to confront a nasty snarl from the dog, hairs standing straight up on her back, teeth bared, and lips drawn back. “Whoah!” he hollered and sprang back. Ann looked aghast. The dog had retreated between her legs, growling, facing the man. All eyes turned on them. The woman at the counter waved the security officer over and Ann knew what was to come next.
“I think she will be fine,” she said feebly, she had never known of a dog of that breed to be anything but the most loving family dogs. She felt the dogs fur rub her leg leaning into her and she knew the dog was clearly frightened enough to defend herself.
“We had a problem with her when she came and we thought she was not adoptable at first but one of the attendants befriended her and she seemed better after that. This does not look good, I’m afraid we might not let her go.”
“Let me take her,” Ann said calmly. Her voice was no longer feeble. She knew that the dog had looked to her for protection. “If we have a problem I can always bring her back. I am sure she will be fine.”
Once outside the dog calmed down but Brian had to listen to a string of instructions from Ann on how to treat a hostile animal. The day progressed and soon ‘Molly’ the terrier and Brian were fast friends.
The end of his visit came too soon but it seemed to Ann that he had come for only one purpose and that was to buy her a dog.
“And Grandma,” he said looking at her with love overflowing his eyes, “If you go to heaven before Molly gets old, I’ll take care of her for you.”

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