Animal Writes
24 January 1999 Issue

A Lesson In Patience

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"Tell me about this one........".

He retired a year ago with a broken leg. He's healed now, but nobody seems
to want him. He's the "wrong" color; and the "wrong" age; and the "wrong"
sex to be desired by many. He just doesn't look like much.

It's almost become his own mark of distinction ... the bit of uniqueness re-
served for this nondescript dog. He is the one passed over, the one not
wanted, the one never chosen. He just doesn't look like much.

I had seen him before. Actually, I'd seen him many times .... but I had never
asked about him. He isn't the kind of dog you notice. His cage is in a corner
....his view, a grouping of supplies. He doesn't bark, or whine ..... he doesn't
pace or shiver. He has a quiet sort of dignity, born of patience .... refined by
waiting. A year of waiting.

I looked into his eyes. A warm friendliness exuded ..... Calmly he arose, and
waited to see what might happen. He knows not to hope for too much ..... he
knows it is another who will likely be chosen .... He has seen a hundred others
come into and leave the kennel while he remains. He regarded me with quiet
demeanor, and even as the kennel door swung open, he hesitated a moment.
He is, after all, willing to wait.

We had been walking for awhile before I first said his name. He had been
busy sniffing the grasses, watching the traffic go by .... he doesn't get outside
much. He heard his name spoken, and a wag of glee overtook him ... from the
end of the leash, he cavorted towards me... landing finally with paws on my
shoulders, looking into my eyes before reaching out to nuzzle my cheek. He
descended, leaning heavily into my thighs .... and I scratched his body pulling
out fistfuls of deadened winter hair. It's August now, but there'd been no time
to groom and polish this boy. There seemed no hurry, after all ..... he would
only be waiting.

"This one's coming home with us, isn't he?" I could hear my husband asking...
"No," I answered, "but let's not return him to the kennel just yet."

We sat in the shade a long time together, the dog and I. He grinned and
wagged, and nuzzled .... and begged me to let him come into my world .....
he could love me ..... and I've never looked like much.

I once heard a saying to the effect that we should be kind to strangers, for
we may be entertaining angels unawares. I looked into his eyes again.
"No more unlikely angel could be imagined, " I told myself ... still, there was
something about the countenance ... the quiet resignation ... the near wisdom...
that said, he could love someone...

and I said again, "Tell me about this one .... "

Some of us have lived long enough to have a lesson in patience. A very
special dog, who doesn't really look like much, certainly has. His name is
Speck, and I met him today.

Hug your hounds tonight, folks.

patti // assorted fuzzies
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