By; Speaker Gerald A. Polley

One afternoon as we were returning home from one of our many errands, we happened to be driving by the Humane Society.
"Oh, let's go in to see if they've got any Poodles!" my wife pleaded. "We don't have to take them, we can just look!"
The last thing in the world I wanted was a dog. With as much moving around as we did, and the constant problems we had to deal with, a dog seemed an extra burden. And we had had an unfortuante time with a dog that we had gotten from the Humane Society a year or so before, who had gotten over protective of my wife, and one evening bit the tumbnail off my right hand! But my wife pleaded again, so I said "Oh, all right, we'll go look. No big ones. It will have to be small."
We parked and went inside. "Have you got any Poodles?" I asked the attendant. "I can't have anything that sheds."
"I think we've got three," the attendant answered. The first one he showed us was so big I thought it was a St. Bernard! The second just laid on the floor and seemed to have difficulty breathing. The third stood at the gate and visciously growled and snapped every time I approached.
"Well, I guess you're out of luck!" I told my wife.
"Wait a minute!" said the attendant, going to another cage near the door, "I haven't got another Poodle, but there's a Cockerpoo in here and the guy that brought her in said she didn't shed. She's in here, with these three."
I went over to the cage and was greeted by three lively dogs that looked like Beagles or Bassett Hounds. They jumped joyously.
"They're adorable!" said my wife.
"They also shed!" I told her. I couldn't see the fourth dog, then looking way back in a dark corner I saw two bright, shining eyes staring at me out of a mass of tangled, black fur. "She looks about the right size. How old is she?"
"Two or three," the attendant said, "I don't remember exactly. We can look on the card."
"Well, let me have a look!" I said. The attendant opened the gate and I went inside. "Come here, pup!" I cried, "Here, girl!" The little dog backed further into the corner, shivering and crying. When I tried to get closer, she growled. "No go," I said, "sorry honey, she won't let me near her."
I started to straighten up and backed off, when suddenly the little ball of black fur charged forward. Still shivering, she wrapped herself around my arm, holding on for dear life with her legs. Laying her head on my arm, she looked up with those shining eyes as if to say "Please, don't leave me in this awful place!"
"Well, she's changed her mind," I said, picking her up. "I guess she likes us after all."
Taking her out front we paid for her shots, got her rabies tag, and headed home. We had to make a stop, however, at the house of a young friend near the railroad tracks. And as we were leaving, another little dog started barking across the street. Our new little Cockerpoo called Puddles (supposedly when she was little she liked to jump in puddles.) started to strain on her leash and bark in return. The collar she was wearing snapped in two, and off she went!
We searched and searched until nightfall, but found no trace of her. "I don't believe it!" I said, "We didn't have her two hours and we managed to lose her." Still on the chance that she may have survied the busy highway downtown, I put an ad in the paper the next day describing her, and asking anyone who found her to call.
The next morning I received a call from the dispatcher in the railroad yard. He had found Puddles wandering in the switching yard, and taken her home. We drove down immediately to fetch her, stopping along the way to buy a new collar. As we pulled in the yard, the attendant saw us, and came down, carrying our lost treasure. The minute she saw my wife, she began to squirm happily, and was soon safe in her arms.
"She's so adorable," the atendant said, "my wife wanted to keep her, but I said it wasn't right, and we'd better check the paper to see if anyone's looking for her."
"We only had her a couple of hours," I told him, "but we got attached right away. She is a lovable little mutt!"
I reached out to scratch her ear and she began to growl. "She doesn't quite like ME all that much yet, though," I remarked.
We took her home, I got out the scissors, trimmed her, I gave her a bath, and she really began to look like a dog. It took some time for our relationship to become confirmed. She was usually "mama's Poo", friendly to daddy as long as he kept his distannce, and accepted affection on her terms, when she felt like it....any attempt to touch or to pat or to rub a belly was usually met with a respectful growl to say "Oh, you're all right, but keep your distance!"
The many adventures we've had with our little Cockerpoo has made it that we'll never regret that stop at the Humane Society. With the pasing of time daddy is now acceptable. Every morning she has to get up on the bed for her 'lovin's'; several minutes of hugging and kissing and belly rubbing until she's had her affection for the day. Then, she'll happily jump off the bed and bark for her medicine, turning her head so she can see us out of her left eye, as age has taken the sight from her right. She needs the medicine because she now has seizures. Too excited about following daddy one day, at the redemption center, she dove head first, out of the truck, and landed with a thud on the concrete. I picked her up, terrified as she shivered, then went limp. She seemed to recover, however, in moments. It was not until more than a month later that the seizures began. So now three times a day she stands patiently as mamma fixes her medicine, puts it in the eye dropper, and gives it to her.
Sometimes bronchitis will make her cough so much that she'll lay on the floor by our feet to make sure we're near. But when it passes again, she'll start playing with her bone and wait for daddy to get down on the floor and grab it, and growl.
Twelve years have passed since that fateful day at the Humane Society, and we know that someday our little Poo is going to leave us. We do not look forward to that day, for those twelve years have been filled with so much mischief and love that there will be an empty place in our hearts when we can no longer stand in the door at night, hear the tinkle of her tags, and watch those shining eyes bouncing towards the house...and to see that little face at the bottom of the steps looking up as if to say,
"What are you hollering for? I'm right here!"


On May 2, 1989, we took Puddles to the vet because she had a tumor completely blocking the passage in her right ear. The vet assured us this was nothing and could be easily taken care of. But as he examined her further, he found something far more disturbing. Puddles had a severe hernia. Two loops of her bowels were already through her diaphragm. Complex surgery would be needed and it ws obvious with her respiratory difficulties and her weak heart, she could not withstand the strain. So the following afternoon we returned her to the vets, and as we held her she left this realm and was taken into the gentle care of Our Spirit Guides.
There is a great emptiness in our home, but we also have the joy of remembering the years she spent with us, and the knowledge that someday, somewhere, she will take on a new form and bring that same joy to others.
Bless you, Puddles. Good Journey.

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