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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Extra (08/29/13)

TITLE: Belly-rubbing Time
By Wilma Schlegel


Cutest puppy in the pet store - that’s what he was! I smiled down at him and stroked his silky head.

“Go ahead, take him out, let him run around,” the pet store owner encouraged. (What a marketing great maneuver!)

I immediately did as he suggested. The puppy licked my hands as I reached for him. He licked my face as I lifted him toward me. (Yes, I probably shouldn’t have let him do that, but oh, what a cutie!) His long body, covered in soft puppy fur, wriggled in my arms and nuzzled up close to me.

Thus began our love story. That puppy loved me even more than I loved him, but that’s not to say I didn’t love him. He was my puppy-boy, my sweetie, my understanding companion. We played. We walked. We ran. We were together as often as possible. I poured out my heart to him and he’d nuzzle in real close and he’d listen. It wasn’t that he could offer any kind of solution, it’s just that he would never leave me.

And he grew. And we continued to do everything we did when he was a puppy. One of his favorite games was to grab one of his toys. (He had somehow managed to get hold of a blue jay beanie baby and once that bird was in his mouth its owner decided he could keep it - go figure!) So that became his favorite toy. He would pick it up and run with it. He would leap onto my bed and wait for me to get there. Then he’d make breathy growly sounds while holding that blue jay in his teeth. He loved for me to get it from him and toss it down the hard-wood-floored hallway. Racing past me he’d slide to a stop, pick it up again, race back to the bedroom and leap back onto the bed. Over and over we’d do this until he needed water. Funny, he never ripped or even got a single hole in that blue jay. That was his and he took care of it.

Then there was the game where I’d quietly approach him wherever he was and I’d put my face close to his face, our noses about three inches apart. He’d stay very still, I’d stay very still and then all of a sudden he’d lurch forward and lick my face. He always got me, I never would see it coming! How he made me laugh. How he made me feel good!

And he grew old. He’s closer to fifteen now than fourteen. In dog years that makes him somewhere between ninety-eight and one hundred five. He sleeps a lot. His eyes are clouded over with cataracts and he doesn’t hear like he used to. Never a barking dog, we had a regular schedule for taking him outside for his business. Lately, that schedule doesn’t work like it used to.

Yesterday he had an accident. A quarter of our hardwood-floored living room went under water. (He sure can hold an awful lot in his system, but when it’s time to go, it’s time to go!)

I was perturbed. I was impatient. I was forgetful of all that that sweet animal has done for me. “Oh, Puppy-boy, what did you do?!!!! I did not need this extra work today! Outside, outside now!” I yelled.

He complied easily. He always has. (He was probably thinking, “Where were you five minutes ago when I could have used some help?”)

But I was just thinking about the extra work he'd caused.

Did I remember the extra love, the extra warmth and softness, the extra patience, the extra fun, the extra exercise, the extra laughs, the extra photo-moments, the extra loyalty and admiration he’s given me even when I didn’t deserve it?

Did I remember that in some ways a dog loves us like Jesus loves us?

With a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes I’m remembering those things today. He doesn’t see well enough to play the blue jay game anymore, but I bet he would really like some serious belly-rubbing right about now.

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This article has been read 291 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Carolyn Ancell09/05/13
Beautiful story of unconditional love. Thank you.
Darleen Coon09/05/13
As the mom of an older "puppy", I can totally relate to this story. Thanks for reminding to be extra-patient with my extra-special friend.
C D Swanson 09/06/13
Oh my goodness...tearing up here! What a great tribute to your pup!

I love my pup so much (he's ten) and I remember the moment I saw him, three pounds, and scampering all over the place. I picked him up and fell in love! I see him slowly aging, but so am I. I'm not as young as I was ten years ago. So, it's nice to grow old together. God willing he'll be around for many more years.

The endless and unconditional love they give is beyond words, and no one but an animal lover or "owner" can understand the depth of love they give us through the years.

Thanks for this story and keep loving your "little guy" and enjoy every single moment...I know I will mine.

God bless~
Virgil Youngblood 09/06/13
On topic and a fun read. Well done.
Genia Gilbert09/09/13
A joyous read for all pet lovers! I enjoyed it very much. Well written.
C D Swanson 09/12/13
SO happy you received an EC!

I loved this whole story.

Congrats! God Bless~
Bea Edwards 09/13/13
Ummm this one hit close to home. We just lost the last member of our one time pack of 4 dogs.
He was always my special favorite since he adopted us-just showing up one day and sticking around for the next 10 years. Big, bold, and beautiful was our Husky Bleu.
He too lost functions near the end and I too became impatient, oh gee here come the tears. Yikes it was 3 weeks ago today he died and it just became fresh all over again.
Thank you for this beautiful tribute and reminder.
Show him you love him till the end. He deserves it, just like you said!
Lillian Rhoades 09/15/13
Belated congratulations, Wilma, for a heart-warming, well-written story, and for your EC win.