Visitor:

Activists + > Literature > Stories

THE PUPPY
by Virginia Haven
photos by Jim Zimmerlin

She keeps repeating it over and over again. We've been back to this shelter at least five times. It has been weeks now since we started all of this, the woman told the volunteer. "What is it she keeps asking for? " she asked. "Puppy size!"

 

"We have plenty of puppies, if that's what she's looking for." "I know. We have seen most of them," she said in frustration. Just then the young child came walking in the office. "Well, did you find one?" "No, not this time," she said with sadness in her voice. "Can we come back on the weekend?" The two women looked at each other, shook their heads and laughed. "You never know when we will get more dogs. Unfortunately, there's always a supply," the volunteer said.

 The young child took her Mother by the hand and headed to the door. "Don't worry, I bet we'll find one this weekend," the child said. Over the next few days both mom and dad had long conversations with her. They both felt she was being too particular. "It's this weekend or we're not looking any more," Dad finally said in frustration.

 "We don't want to hear anything more about puppy size either," mom added. Sure enough they were the first ones in the shelter on Saturday morning. By now the young child knew her way around, so she ran right for the section that housed the smaller dogs.

 Tired of the routine, mom sat in the small waiting room at the end of the first row of cages. There was an observation window so you could see the animals during times when visitors weren't permitted. The young girl walked slowly from cage to cage, kneeling periodically to take a closer look. One by one the dogs were brought out and she held each one. One by one she said, "Sorry, you're not the one." It was the last cage on this last day in search of the perfect pup. The volunteer opened the cage door and the child carefully picked up the dog and held it loosely. This time she it took a little longer.

 "Mom, that's it! I found the right puppy! He's the one! I know it!" she screamed with joy. Mom, startled by all the commotion, came running. "What? Are you sure? How do you know?" she asked. "It's the puppy sighs!"

 "Yes, it the same size as all the other puppies you held the last weeks," mom said. "No, not size -- sighs. When I held him in my arms he sighed," she said. "So? Don't you remember? When I asked you one day what love is, you told me love depends on the sighs of your heart. The more you love, the bigger the sighs!"

 The two women looked at each other for a moment. Mom didn't know whether to laugh or cry. As she stooped down to hug her child she did a little of both. "Mom every time you hold me I sigh. When you and Daddy come home from work and hug each other you both sigh. I knew I would find the right puppy if it sighed when I held it in my arms," she said. Then holding the puppy up close to her face she said, "Mom, he loves me. I heard the sighs of his heart."


 

Fair Use Notice and Disclaimer
Send questions or comments about this web site to Ann Berlin, annxtberlin@gmail.com