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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Charade (08/14/08)

TITLE: Beyond That Ball Of Fur
By Teresa Hollums


“How adorable! Just look at those big round brown eyes! What a precious small upturned pug nose! Could we possibly have him—could we,” pleaded the wife as she held the tiny puppy in her arms.

“Honey, he’s $500! We’ve never spent that much on a dog before!”

“ I know, sweetheart, but just look at him! I’ve never seen a puppy this cute before and that is a good buy for a Cavalier King Charles.”

“But, wife, he’s not the normal coloring of a regular Cavalier—he’s red. No one will ever know he is one.”

“yes, they will, he’s too distinct a breed. Look closely and he will have some blond highlights, I know—he won’t be pure ruby as he is supposed to be. I like it better that he’s not perfect.”

“But I’ve not read a single thing about that breed of dog—what if he has a real flaw that can’t be helped—like a life span of only 5 years—or hip problems—or vision problems early? Then we will be stuck with huge vet bills trying to keep up a dog we couldn’t afford anyway.”

The wife looked longingly at the precious burden she had wanted to take on. She knew in her heart that this puppy was the one that she had wanted all her life—to be that wonderful companion. Both she and her husband had both admired the grown version of these small, very special little dogs. They could only be purchased at an approved breeder’s consent. The Cavalier breed was developed in England as a small spaniel companion to the royalty of England and Europe. But, the most important thing was that this little tiny puppy seemed to speak to her. He just needed her, too, the wife knew in her heart.

“Oh, alright if you think it is best not to own one right now, but I really would like one sometime before I am too old to train a puppy. We’ve no grandchildren and our children are often too busy to contact us much. Then she turned to the puppy, “ I hate to say it, little one, but I think I have to give you up.” And she paused and looked longingly at the ball of soft fluff in her hand.

The too-soft-hearted husband watched the fluff lick his wife’s hand. He petted the little dog briefly. Out of the corner of his eye he saw his wife of forty years try to keep back tears that were welling in her eyes. He knew she was lonely in her retirement from teaching the children she loved. Maybe it would be good for both of them to have this all-consuming time for training a puppy. Maybe she could forget more often her ache she constantly had of the loss of a dear grown son to cancer.

And he paused thoughtfully. “Oh, wife, he is really pretty cute, isn’t he? “

The wife nodded her head and stroked the soft fur on the top of the puppy’s head.

“Tell you what, if we can get the drive-in bank to allow us to access our cash on this Saturday morning, I’ll get it for you.”

“Thank you so much, husband. I don’t want to hurt any of our savings for other things—but this little one is just so precious.” And she hugged her husband’s shoulder as best she could as she now didn’t have to let the little dog go finally—maybe.”

“I guess you’ll have to put it back in his cage for right now—and we’ll go check.”

And, sure enough, there was enough in the bank to purchase the little puppy.

Taking Teddy home was quite an experience. They had to go back to get him and purchase him officially from the breeder. They had to be sure to sign papers that said he was a registered dog, etc. Then they had to go to purchase all the needed dog toys, training aides, and small bed, collar, and leash. It was like buying baby things for a dog. But it was all a joy. A grandchild tiny dog had come into their lives.

The lonely and hurting couple now rejoiced that they found again their love of children by the rich brown depths of the little dog’s eyes. Their denied love for grandchildren could be finally rekindled—lit by the spark of a compelling ball of fur.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 08/22/08
Sweet story--who can resist a puppy for long?

I'm curious as to why you didn't name the main characters...it would have given you a few more options than just calling them "husband" and "wife". And I'm not clear on how this works with "charade".

As an empty-nester myself, I could really relate to the emotions here. Very sweet.
Colin Swann08/24/08
Very informative for someone wating to purchase a canine. Our queen presently likes her corgis. The best spin I can put on your piece with regard to charade is the husband's pretense that he didn't want to buy the animal, then did. Thanks!
Patty Wysong08/25/08
There's just something about puppies and kittens! I can't resist them, either, but my husband sure can! LoL
Marlene Austin08/26/08
Loving animals, of course I enjoyed this story. :) Saw one missed capital letter at the beginning of a sentence - not bad at all. :) I did wonder why the humans didn't have personal names. "Honey" and "Sweetheart" are common endearment names, but I don't recall ever hearing people call their spouses by "wife" and "husband" as endearing terms - just wondering.