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from Patsy

This vacation picture is of me with my dogs. It was taken at Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas. The Samoyed is Nikki. The Sheltie is Duncan. They are no longer with me, but I pray they are enjoying themselves in the meadows, hills and valleys near the Rainbow Bridge. I miss them dearly.

from Pat


Working every day, kids on the run constantly, out of town on various weekends, I just didn't have time to devote proper care to a pet. We had had goldfish, like every household in the USA, hamsters and more hamsters, cats and kittens, a skunk, a lizard, and even a jar of crawdads, if you want to call them pets.
One day, my daughter brought in a little black minature poodle that was two months old. I wouldn't look at it, I wouldn't touch it, and she just kept pushing it into my face.

"Here, Mom, hold him. He wants you to hold him."
"No! You can't have a dog. Don't ask! You know I'll be the one taking care of him."
"Look, Mom! He likes you. He's trying to kiss you."
"Get him out of my face! No! No! No! Don't ask again! Take the dog back where he belongs."

There she was on the floor, rolling, playing, and licking all over my daughter; the cutest little puppy you'd ever want to see. Who could resist?

I knew if I even touched the puppy, I would surrender. Yes, she took the dog back, but she only took him to her Dad's house. He said, "If it's alright with your Mom, then you can have the puppy." Do you think for one minute, she told her dad I said "No"? They knew he wouldn't consult me first. That old trick had been used many times.

A few days later little Jacque became a member of the family. His coloring soon changed from black to silver gray. He went out twice a day to exercise and do his business in the yard. Sometimes he would run and it would take my son, daughter and me, all three, to persuade him to come back to the house.

After about a year, one day I let him go outside. That time, Jacque didn't return. I called and called his name. I searched every yard on the street, then began to get nervous. He had wandered off and was lost. The kids were at their dad's house. They came home and scanned the neighborhood too. No Jacque!

While my children were not upset at all, I was pacing the floor, looking out the window, and worrying while they were sure he would return soon. This was the dog I was absolutely not going to become attached to. This was the dog my children promised to care for and see to his every need. They kept saying, "Mom, he'll come home. He always does." I said, "No, he won't. He's the type dog that anyone would like to have." He was cute and lovable, had a puppycut, and was small for a miniature poodle. When a car pulled up to the curb, Jacque would sit up and beg. I knew if he did that, a car door would open, he would jump in, and off they would go.

Three days passed, still no sign of little Jacque. My children were still convinced he would find his way home. I had called the Vet, the local radio station that reported lost and found, and even inquired of the postmen if they had spotted Jacque in their mail deliveries. They promised to look for him. He had completely disappeared. Nobody had seen him.

I couldn't concentrate on my work at the office. Finally, I wrote notes describing the poodle and included my phone number. Then I called all the neighborhood kids together, handed them the notes and told them to leave one at every door in the subdivision. Of course, they were willing and anxious to find our dog. The kids headed every direction in pairs. I took my car and began combing the streets, people's yards, and the park nearby.

Just as I rounded one corner a few blocks away, my son was running toward me. He yelled, "Mom, I think we've found him. A lady said she saw a dog of his description at the house down the street." He pointed, and I drove to that house. When I knocked on the door, a young boy answered. I could see past him into the kitchen. There were three or four small poodles. I described Jacque and asked the boy if he had seen him. The boy turned and went to the kitchen, then came back carrying the little dog.

Jacque leaped into my arms. When we all returned to my house, I sobbed and sobbed. If I hadn't been so glad to see that stinking little creature, I'd have spanked him good. My children began to laugh and say, "Look at Mom! She's the one who doesn't
like dogs!"

This story had a happy ending but I was rather irritated with the lady who had taken Jacque into her home. You see, he had dog tags. The tags had his veterinarian's name and phone number on them. The vet kept records on the animals he treated. She raised miniature poodles and was familiar with the lost and found procedures. She knew how to locate the dog's owner. If Jacque had not been spotted at the lady's house, she would never have returned him. He would have been just another registered poodle she could use for breeding purposes. I was angry.

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