19 01 2011


My mother is not an animal lover.  She tolerated all kinds of furry critters while we were growing up, because we wanted pets and she loved us, but she never wanted a pet in the house.

One summer, years after we were grown and gone, her neighbor got a puppy for her kids, who did not show any interest in caring for it from day one.  The woman was not a “dog person” and for several weeks, Mom listened to her constant cursing at and about the puppy.  My daughter Jessica was about ten years old then, and spent days at Mom’s while I worked, so she, too, was exposed to the angry sounds that emanated from the adjacent back yard.

My mother, the non-animal-lover, who raised animal-loving children, finally snapped one day.  The neighbor was leaning on the fence, describing the puppy’s misbehavior in fluent and florid cuss, when Mom said to her, “You know, you’re just going to keep that dog until he is old enough to be past the cute puppy phase. He will have lived a miserable few months with you; then you will take him to the pound where he will live a few more miserable months; then he’ll be put down because he’ll be completely incorrigible by then.  GIVE ME THE DAMN DOG!”

To my mother’s surprise, the woman promptly lifted the pup over the fence and into my mom’s arms.  The puppy was delighted because the person holding him was not yelling at him.  The neighbor was delighted because she would no longer be subjected to his puppiness.  Jessica was delighted because she now had a dog “of her very own” at Grandma’s.  Mom was stunned.

It has been over ten years since the dog came to live with Mom.  He is now diabetic – she gives him insulin injections twice a day.  He is now blind – she keeps the chairs pushed in at the same place at the table so he can navigate safely.  She insists she is still “not an animal lover,” but she gives him lots of affection, especially since Jessica, to whom he gave lots of affection, is no longer with us to pet him and play with him.

Mom’s neighbor did two things right with that “damn dog.” 

She gave him to my mother.

She named him Lucky.                                                                                  

He was a good boy in a tough situation. He was saved by the fine, strong, kind person that is my mom. There are others who deserve the kindness of fine strong people to help them through hardships that have befallen them. We should all aim to be as fine and strong and kind as my mother. I am lucky.



8 responses

19 01 2011

wonderful post about how a furry friend is not the only one who thrives in the right environment! Cheers MJ

19 01 2011
Jean Van Brederode

When I taught writing to teenagers, I told them their grade depended on what I called the “chill factor.” I would know when what they had to say was good if I got a chill (and sometimes a tear) when I read it. Your post definitely has the “chill factor,” and knowing your wonderful mother, you are definitely a Lucky Lady!

19 01 2011
linda billet

Ah yes, Lucky was lucky. Somewhere someone (something?) greater than all of us knew that Lucky was what EVERYONE on this side of the fence needed but wouldn’t accept without a huge nudge. So now, old and blind, Lucky is still giving back when everyone needs it most!

19 01 2011
Margie Fultz

What a wonderful tribute to your amazing mom. I, too, am lucky, and though my mom went ahead (21 years ago) to welcome your Jessie, she still inspires me every day. We are blessed.

19 01 2011
Roxan O'Brien

Since I am a animal lover, this is a great story. Dogs come into our lives when we need them as much as they need us. Your mom has a big heart to take in a dog she wasn’t looking for.

20 01 2011

Paula, your mom is a force of nature. Beneath that tough-as-nails exterior beats a heart the size of Texas. I also can’t help but note that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! As one who has been on the receiving end of her care and spent many a night on the safe haven always and forever known as the short couch, I can well imagine just how loved and safe Lucky has felt. We should all be so lucky.

20 01 2011
John Kerecz

Can I go live with your mom!?!?

25 01 2011

Animals have a way of burrowing into our hearts. I think there’s a reason for that. Scientists can have their fuzzy logic, I think we all need some fuzzy luv!

PS: Paula, I’ve nominated your blog to receive a Wylde Women Award! My mom suggested the site to me and the award and I whole heartedly agreed that you should be nominated! Hugs! -Jen

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