My dad tolerated his furry grandchildren. Those of you who read Birdsong, know he even took Snoopy into his home. He hemmed and hawed about my dogs, but he would give them pieces of table food in his kitchen…….
Once, we tried to hide the fact that I had yet another rescue in my house. My dad wasn’t one for visits, he would stop in at the door and drop something off, or pick something up…..usually my kids because he took them to and from school. We had been “hiding” our latest familv member from him, a little cairn terrier. One day, I opened the door, forgetting to put little Gingersnap in the other room. She raced to the door and started jumping on my dad………I heard the mumbles and comments. My dad knew he was a man defeated by fur…………..
He would race my dogs to the emergency clinic if one were seriously ill. He would pay for expensive veterinary treatments. I remember once my dad paid a very expensive bill at the vet hospital. When I gave the receptionist the check, she said it was short by cents, it was under a dollar. I didn’t have any money on me. I remember that walk out to the car and to my dad to get the change from him. He did all this for me, and stored inside my memories are all these gestures.
When my cockatiel died, he quietly gave my daughter money and told her to go to the pet shop and bring me another one home…….I still have Chip…….
I remember he once went into a rant at a NJ toll booth operator who worked at the pace of a snail when we had my little toy poodle in the back seat……transporting him to a sophisticated vet facility when my own vet said it was the only chance for him to live…….and live he did.
My dad was one who took care of us, all of us, fleshed and furry…….and he continues in spirit to watch over all of us now.
He tried to take care of everybody……stacks and stacks of charity mail came to his house every month. He would put a dollar in each one…..He would proudly show us pictures that children had drawn for him. (I didn’t have the heart to tell him they were just form letters and a child had not sat down and colored one specifically for him)…….His eyes were poor, his handwriting shaky at this point. But he continued sending his dollars to them all. Once, he composed a letter to be sent upon his death to each of the charities he had sent donations……apologizing to all because his dollars would no longer come.
In his lifetime, he is credited with saving the lives of others. He was a Police Captain, he was given a citation for saving teenagers from drowning, he once ran into a building on fire and later had to be treated for exposure to hazardous chemicals……I remember the panic I felt as a kid watching him run across the street when a power line fell on a neighbor’s car in the driveway…….
When I lost my dad, I lost the one who was always there to save me……it is a horrible feeling to be an orphan, for those of us who have lost our parents now become one. And, as we age, we become the one our children look upon to save them……….
So…….for all saviors today…….
I wish happiness.