TITLE: Saving for Sniffles
By Kathy Davidson
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Saving for Sniffles
Scottie wanted a dog more than anything. Each day he raced home from school, dropped his lunchbox on the counter and searched his new backyard for the new puppy he just knew would be there, waiting to lick him in the face and race up and down the backyard fence.
Scottie wanted a little dachshund puppy, just like Grandmother Beas’. He wanted it to have floppy ears, a long body, and short little legs.
Mom and Dad had already told Scottie that a puppy would be possible for him and his big sister, Cindy, but not right now. They had just moved into the house on Mims Avenue, money was tight, and besides that dachshund puppies were expensive.
Scottie knew about the money and he knew about the price. But he wanted a dachshund puppy with long floppy ears, long body, and short legs. He just knew that God had a special dachshund just waiting to be his dog.
One weekend, several months after moving to the red shingled house on Mims Avenue, Mom and Dad bought a Sunday newspaper. Together Scottie and Mom searched the Want Ads for the dachshund puppy for Scottie.
“Here, pointed Scottie, read here Mom, dachshund puppies for sale, one hundred dollars!”
Scottie’s heart sank. He was sad. He knew that one hundred dollars was just too much for his puppy.
“My goodness, said Cindy, I can’t believe that a puppy would be that much!”
That night Scottie asked God why the puppies had to be so much. Couldn’t he please send a dachshund puppy with long floppy ears, a long body, and short little legs to him? He promised he would take good care of it. Scottie didn’t know how but he knew God would answer his prayer somehow, he just knew it!
The next morning Mom made a suggestion before Scottie and Cindy began their walk to Jackson school.
“Let’s save our money in this glass dill pickle jar, said Mom. If we can save twenty five dollars we will have enough money to go to the Birmingham Animal Shelter and pick out a homeless dog. We can save twenty five dollars in no time if we just cut back on some things. It may not be the dachshund you want, Scottie, but we will be giving a home to a homeless dog. God knows what pet is best, we have to trust Him.”
Scottie nodded his head yes, but inside he still longed for the dachshund puppy with long floppy ears, long body, and short little legs.
When Scottie and Cindy came home from school that afternoon, Mom had put a sign decorated with a cartoon puppy that she had drawn with colored pencils and crayons, and the words, Scottie’s Puppy Pickle Jar on the kitchen counter. And so began the spare change and dollar bill donations to the Puppy Pickle Jar. When the ice cream man came, instead a quarter for a snow cone or orange push-up, quarters clanked in the pickle jar. Each Saturday Scottie and Cindy’s, chore list of waxing the wood floors, cleaning the bathrooms, collecting laundry for fifty cents meant more clanking of coins in the Puppy Pickle Jar. Mom helped by putting in all the spare change from Dad’s work pants pockets. Grandma Bea and Poppa Charlie put in spare change from their dresser. Dad limited his soft drinks at work and put more quarters into the pickle jar. On Sunday afternoons after church, no more trips to Dairy Queen for ice cream sundaes, those extra dollars went to the Puppy Pickle Jar.
Soon the coins and dollar bills began to rise in the jar. Each day Scottie and Cindy would shake the jar and try to guess if the twenty-five dollars was inside. It seemed like it would never get full, but one day in April, the jar was as full as it was going to get.
“Well, what do I see? Look, Mom, the Puppy Pickle Jar is full,” said Dad.
Dad poured the money from the jar. Mom, Cindy, and Scottie began to count. They stacked the bills in one stack; the coins were separated by pennies, nickel, dimes, and quarters. Mom and Dad counted the coins, Scottie and Cindy the bills.
Mom wrote down the amounts on her writing tablet.
“Well, Scottie you’re one step closer to that puppy. There is $32.23 in this jar!” said Mom.
“Hurray!” shouted Scottie and Cindy, as they danced around the kitchen.
“Next Saturday I will take off and we will go to the Birmingham Animal Shelter,” said Dad.
Scottie prayed hard that week.
“Dear God, could you please have a dachshund puppy waiting for me at the Animal Shelter. We’re going Saturday.”
Saturday morning came and Scottie joined Cindy, Mom, and Dad in the Nova station wagon to make the trip to the Animal Shelter. Scottie carried the Puppy Pickle Jar with its $32.23. It took about thirty minutes through the city streets to make it to the shelter. It was a big metal building and when they parked the car and stopped the engine you could hear the dogs barking.
Scottie, Mom, Dad, and Cindy stepped into the small air conditioned office. The lady behind the counter smiled and asked them what she could help them with today.
“We’re here to look for a puppy, said Scottie. We saved our money in this jar.” Scottie held up the Puppy Pickle Jar with the cartoon dog on the sign.
The lady shelter worker behind the counter smiled. “I see, she said; let’s put your jar here on my desk. Follow me to the kennels.”
Scottie, Mom, Dad, and Cindy walked through the door behind her office and into a big open building with high ceilings and concrete floors. There were rows of metal fenced in kennels and most had two or three dogs in each kennel. There were yellow dogs with brown faces and long legs, spotted bird dogs, dogs that looked like Lassie from the television show, fire house dogs with black and white spots, bulldogs, and beagle hounds, but in all the kennels no dachshunds. They jumped and barked, some growled, some wagged their tails all begging with sad eyes to take them home.
Dad could see the disappointment in Scottie’s eyes.
“Do you have any smaller dogs? asked Dad. Scottie was looking for a smaller dog.”
“Yes, we keep the smaller dogs and puppies in smaller cages in the room with the kittens,” said the lady.
She led the way to another room with a metal door. The room had a concrete floor and all around the block wall were cages from the floor to two thirds up the wall and filled with assorted colored kittens and puppies and small dogs. Scottie looked in each cage. He saw Chihuahuas, little furry dogs, skinny short haired dogs, but no dachshunds.
“See any little fur ball you might want to take home,” said Dad.
Scottie hung his head. “No, Dad, I just don’t see my dachshund. I know it is going to be here.”
“I am sorry, said the lady shelter worker, but getting a dachshund is very rare here at the shelter. You may want to consider one of these Chihuahua puppies. I have to go see about one of my cages in the vet’s office. I’ll leave you alone to think about it.”
“I know you are disappointed, son, said Mom. But those little Chihuahuas are cute.”
“I just know God is going to put my dachshund here, Mom, said Scottie. Can we come back next week? I know Dad can’t take off work, but can we keep the car and come back?”
“Scottie, you heard the lady, said Dad. It is very rare, I know you had your heart set on it, but we can’t come here every week.”
The lady shelter worker returned from the back where the new animals arrived and the veterinarian checked them for injuries, fleas, or other problems.
“We have a few new arrivals, would you like to take a look?” she asked.
“Sure, why not?” said Scottie. He followed the lady shelter worker to the back room. There were large dogs were tied by leashes and smaller dogs, puppies, and kittens were still in the carrying cases used to bring the animals to the shelter. Another worker opened a cage and picked up a shaggy haired puppy, with floppy ears, a long body, and short legs.
“Dad, it’s my dachshund, shouted Scottie. Scottie ran over to the puppy and the puppy wagged its tail and barked.
“I thought you would like her, said the lady shelter worker. She’s is a dachshund, a rare wire-haired one. Just came in while you were looking at the outside kennel. It is strange. We just don’t get little ones like this very often here at the kennel.”
“Oh, wow, just like I prayed, Dad, can we take her home?” asked Scottie.
“Well, Mom, what do you think?” asked Dad.
“I think, she’s perfect,” said Mom.
“How about you, Cindy?” asked Mom.
“She is really cute,” said Cindy.
“Looks like we all agree, well, get her ready, while we count out the money,” said Dad.
“Dad, can Cindy and I stay and watch her? asked Scottie.
“Okay, you two just stay out of the way,” said Mom.
Mom and Dad left to count out the money with the lady shelter worker. Scottie and Cindy watched as the kennel care worker picked the puppy up and dipped her in a medicated bath for fleas and ticks. As soon as she came up from her dip, she sneezed and snorted to get the water mixed with medicine out of her nose. She shook all over and sneezed one more time before the vet came in to the dip room. The vet checked her and dropped some medicine in her mouth and held her mouth closed so she would swallow it. Once again she sneezed and shook more water out of her wire-haired coat.
The vet smiled, “She’s all yours. Take good care of her.”
On the way home, Dad said, “God really blessed you, Scottie and He even added long hair. Well, Scottie, Cindy what are we going to call our new puppy?”
Just then the little wire haired puppy sneezed a big sneeze all over Scottie.
Scottie laughed, “Wow, that was a big one, you sneeze like you’ve got the sniffles! That’s it, that’s her name, Sniffles!”
“Sniffles it is,” said Mom.
With a wag of her tail and you guessed it, another big sneeze, Sniffles was home
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