When I was a teenager, just starting to grasp some vague notion of action and consequences, our family used to go camping a lot. There were many who would camp regularly and formed sort of a weekend community. The kids would play and run around and the parents would sit by the bonfire trying to outdo each with dreamy stories. My sister swears that back then people drove around with beers in their car open but I don't remember that myself.
A couple who lived some distance were visting their mother in another town who'd found a dog. They asked if we'd like it, and we said yes. We named her Freckles because she was white and brown and had these little spots all over her muzzle. She was really cute. Someone had obviously loved her.
One day my brother and I were walking her around the lake and I ducked away to go do something. He was pulling her leash and said "Come here Freckles." A couple walking by asked "What did you call that dog?" and he repeated her name.
Long long long sobbing sad and heartbreaking story short, they had chanced upon this lake to camp for the weekend to get over the sadness of having lost their dog, over 50 miles away in another town they'd be visiting relatives. The timing of this! How is it possible that people from far apart would happen to be walking and crossing paths at the exact moment that the dog's name was said. Otherwise they might have just continued walking thinking how much that dog over there reminded them of theirs.
Freckles was their dog. There was no denying it. They even showed us the scar on her belly where she had given birth to a tough litter before they fixed her. But Freckles loved ME! She would sleep next to ME! I loved her and she loved ME! I remember my father's face when he was explaining to me that Freckles loved me too but had to go back to her mommy and daddy. I remember he was stricken to have to tell me that something I loved was going away. Choosing between telling the owners "no" or "no" to his daughter - to deny love. She was such a sweet dog, so gentle and motherly.
That life lesson kind of stank. But Freckles was happy and I'm sure lived a long, good life with them. My parent's current dog Pookie kind of reminds me of Freckles from so long ago.....
"Dogs' lives are too short. Their only fault, really."
~Agnes Sligh Turnbull ...