Saturday, December 08, 2007

A Holiday Story: Zack and Karleen

Karleen has sent us this wonderful holiday story about a Christmas Puppy who took a detour on the way to his forever home.

When I first met my husband, he had a black and white springer spaniel named Bridgie. She and I became fast friends and I loved her dearly. She passed away in July of 1975. That Christmas, my husband called me at work and said he'd like to buy me a springer for Christmas and perhaps I could find some breeders in the area. A new pet store had just opened in the mall and I could walk to it from work. I headed over on my lunch hour and discovered that they had just received 2 springer puppies, one male and one female. I made my husband promise to go back with me right after supper.
When we arrived at the store and I asked to see the female, I was told she'd already been sold but I could hold the male if I wanted. The minute he was in my hands, I could feel a connection. He looked right into my eyes and "claimed" me. He chewed on my zipper and licked my fingers....a total bundle of energy and joy! When my husband found out that the selling price was $250, he told me he was sorry but he thought we could do better from a private breeder. I was heart-broken and snuck back to the mall on my lunch hours just to look at "my" dog but of course one day he was gone! That was right before Christmas - no springer under the tree for me.

My birthday rolled around in June and I was still dogless so my husband called me at work (again) and reiterated his desire to buy me a dog. I didn't know any breeders so called the Humane Society to see if they would recommend anyone in our area. I said, "I'm calling to ask about Springer Spaniels..............." but got no further as I was cut off by a curt, "How did you find out about this?" I was taken aback and said, "Excuse me?" The woman said, "Well, we have a springer spaniel for adoption but he's not on our public list. We're waiting for just the right owner to come along." I felt a little stirring of excitement and told her all about myself and about the farm the dog would be living on and even offered to bring in photos of our home to show her. An appointment was made and we went to the Humane Society that evening. As we were walking to the kennel area, the woman said, "I have to warn you. This dog is not for everyone. He's only 6 months old and he's extremely hyper. He was, for all intents and purposes, abused. His owner kept him tied to a woodstove by a 12" piece of rope all winter!" I was appalled and asked why. She said, "He's an older man and bought the puppy to replace his 2 deceased elderly cockers. But he wasn't prepared to deal with the exuberance of puppy-hood." She said, "Wait here." She walked down the aisle, opened a kennel door, and a liver and white springer bounded out and RIGHT INTO MY ARMS!! He licked my face and literally wagged all over! I could not stop laughing! I told my husband, "Well, take him!" Then I said, "Where did he come from originally?" The woman said, "He was bought at that new pet store in the mall, just before Christmas!" IT WAS THE DOG I HAD WANTED FOR CHRISTMAS!!!  Zack was my best buddy; my first child; my constant companion for many years. Altho he died young in 1983, I still get teary thinking of him today, especially at Christmas time!

Merry Christmas, Zack! I miss you!

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