Huckleberry and Me

Long ago. I found a dog. A cute, little buff-colored Cocker Spaniel. Roaming around my neighborhood. Looking lost. Scared. And hungry. I picked him up. Oh so gently. And placed a bowl of water down, and some food. For him to drink from, and to nibble at. Then I made a sign, determined to find its owner, yet hoping no one would respond. Just so I could keep that sweet little pup. With me. Forever and ever.

Happily, for the Spaniel, someone called. Said they’d be right over. To pick up their beloved pup. And to thank me for taking care of him.

Well, right then and there, I decided I wanted a Cocker Spaniel of my own. To name. To feed. To care for. So I searched the papers. For dogs. And found someone selling buff-colored pups. Only six or so weeks old. So I called. To say I wanted one. But, they honestly told me that the dogs did not have papers proving they were a breed. And because of that, they were selling them for cheaper than cheap. Which I didn’t mind. About the papers. All I knew was that I wanted one. One of those Spaniels. One of those pups.

When the time was right, I picked one up, and brought it home to care for. And to love. And named him Huckleberry. Like Tom Sawyer’s friend.


Then one day, I moved. Moved far away. To an apartment where dogs weren’t allowed. So, I left him behind. Hoping he’d be okay. And he was. Until the day he was hit by a car. And taken to the vet. Who told me Huckleberry had been injured. That it was serious. And the best option was to put him down. To sleep. To euthanize him.

I went to see him. To say goodbye. I hugged him. Kissed him. Petted him, gently. And then  waited. Until I had to walk away. Sadly. With tears in my eyes.

I returned home. To my boyfriend. And fell into his arms. Crying like an unsoothable baby. Until I was all cried out. Then I began to talk. About Huckleberry. How I felt I had failed him. And swore I would never, ever get a dog again. Not until I was fully dedicated to caring for him.

In the end, I spoke about how special Huckleberry was. How sweet. And gentle. And how forever his name will remind me of a buff-colored Spaniel, from long ago.

tea and toast

IMG_4756When I was younger, I remember whenever I didn’t feel well, was sick in bed without the want to get up, with the blankets wrapped tightly around my sore noggin, and generally lacking the desire to eat, my mom, and sometimes my sister, would offer me a cup of hot tea and some buttered toast to soothe and nourish my aches and pains.

I loved those moments. Well, yeah, sans the sick part, of course, but everything about the love that came with the tea and toast. A gesture that held an abundance of meaning. One that I carried with me throughout my days, held onto to it, knowing that some day I’d get the chance to Pay It Forward.

One day Rudy and I met. A month or so later we were dating, in a very serious way. Within weeks, he was uncharacteristically ill. He had called me to say he wouldn’t be able to go out that evening. I told him I’d be right over. I found him stretched out on the couch he shared with his roommates. His dark-skinned cheeks were blushing from a fever. And he had no energy to move. I watered down a wash cloth with cold water, folded it onto his forehead, cooled him down.

And then. I made him a cup of tea and a slice of buttered toast.

He didn’t drink or eat my offerings, only because he really just wanted to sleep. And sleep he did. I waited until he woke again then made a fresh cup of tea and a new slice of buttered toast. “Thanks,” he whispered, his voice sounding hoarse.

Years later, when I was feeling out-of-sorts, Rudy walked into the bedroom, bringing in a cup of tea and buttered toast. “Paying it Forward,” he smiled.