Man’s Best Friend

By: Kathleen Locklear
Photo Credit: Creative Commons

First came a little girl, giggling and rushing down the stairs on Christmas morning to open her presents, gasping and squealing when she opened the first one to find a little ball of fluff yapping excitedly at her, jumping up to try and lick her face, tail wagging ferociously. She knew immediately that she was going to love that dog.

Second came a teenage boy. He didn’t have many friends, didn’t care to make any. Everyone he talked to all seemed too focused on the fact he was missing one of his legs. Until one day he literally tripped over a stray that ran into his path. Despite the harsh meeting, the matted dog only whined and came up to lick his cheek. It was a ratty thing, with some battle scars from life on the streets, a torn ear, and a once sleek coat now a dirty mess. Yet the boy knew the moment the dog licked his cheek he would not be leaving the dog to suffer any longer. Both of them were older, yes, but that day they both promised to stay by each other’s side.

Third came an adult woman. She had been shunned from her family for being trans, cast aside and living with her partner. She woke up every day with new bruises, making more and more excuses to coworkers. Yet while she was out at the park with her partner, his hand gripping hers tightly, she heard the growl of a massive German Shepherd, tugging at his leash held by an officer. When the man let the dog go, it ran at the pair and immediately began pushing her away from her partner, breaking his hold on her. It was enough to set the man off, as he then tried to hit the dog and hold her hand again. The officer quickly took him down for hitting the dog and he was hauled away, and after sitting down with the dog having squeezed himself onto her lap, she was finally able to tell the truth, and ironically she later learned the dog’s name was Savior.

Finally, there was an old man. He sat in his rocking chair looking out the window, a book in his lap. His granddaughter was sitting on the floor beside him, petting her ball of excited fluff that was a dog.

He looked over and smiled at her, hand automatically reaching to pet a dog that was no longer there. “Now you listen here sunshine, I may be old, but dear ol’ Gramps knows knows a thing or two. I’ve seen a lot of things in my life, I watched as a boy with only one leg find a dog to help support him, and they were friends forever. I later learned from his mother the boy had no friends, and was going to buy a gun to kill himself when he tripped over the dog, and the dog gave him a new reason to live.

I saw a woman covered in bruises get pushed away from her abuser by a police dog, who sat on her lap despite his massive size and licked away her tears as she told the officer about her years of abuse and suffering.

Lastly, though, I watched as you opened your present on Christmas morning, and were immediately ecstatic over that little bundle of fluff. If I know anything, it’s that your little dog is going to be more than just a dog. That dog is in your life for a reason, and you need to treasure her while she’s there, okay? Will you do that for Gramps?”

The little girl looked up at him, eyes wide as she nodded, hugging her new puppy close to her chest as her grandpa looked back out the window, absentmindedly petting the air where a dog used to sit, and she knew that she would always cherish her dog, just as thousands of others had done before her. Any dog is a gift upon the world, a gift that that should never be squandered, and always has a purpose. She would always remember that, no matter what.

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