March brings back memories of when I was a little girl and the love of my life was a little black and white dog named—what else??? LUCKY!!!
My beloved grandmother passed away when I was about 5 years old. I was living with her, and now I had to move in with my dad and stepmother’s family. It was hard for me—and harder for them, as they did not want to welcome another child into their home.
I was often “punished” for the slightest infraction. After a few weeks of working hard at being “good” and not being sent to bed directly after dinner, I felt emboldened!
This night’s naughty fun was jumping on the bed! My stepmother’s bed!! In HER room!!! First my stepsister jumped, higher and higher…. And then my little stepbrother had a turn. Finally, it was my turn. At first I was wary and did just little jumps, but with each jump my spirits lifted and I became bolder. Higher, higher I went until…with a sickening crack, the ceiling light fixture shattered, and glass fell all around me onto the bed. I knew in my heart that this could not be fixed. There would be no hiding it. The punishment would be terrible—this would not be just going to bed after dinner.
I knew I had to run, I had to get away. In my little kid’s mind I wasn’t thinking rationally…I just knew I had to run! I didn’t even try to clean up the mess. I ran into my room, put on my shoes, and opened the window. Even though it was raining hard, I climbed up onto the window sill and jumped out. Fortunately for me, my room was on the first floor, so the drop was not that far.
I ran to the fence and realized that the gate was locked. I couldn’t get out of the back yard. So I tried climbing the fence. I tried over and over until my legs and hands were raw and bleeding from the wood and the splinters. But I was too small and the fence was too high. There I stood, the tears and the rain running down my face.
My back to the fence, I slid down until I was sitting in the dirt, trembling and frightened. Then I heard the back door open. Surely my stepmother was coming for me! But no, someone inside had just let the two family dogs out: Terry, a little rat terrier, and her son Lucky, a long-haired, black and white pup.
Terry just trotted off into the back yard to take care of business, but Lucky saw me and ran over. He licked my face, and he snuggled up in my lap and lay there as if to keep me warm. With each sob from me came a loving lick from him. This was how I knew love. This little black and white mongrel dog who came to me when I was frightened and scared and so very lonely…….and THAT is where my love of dogs began…………
My time with Lucky was the bright spot in my day – in my life!!!
Until the day I came home from school and Lucky didn’t greet me at the gate. I was terrified that he had gotten out and was hurt….. as I started off down the sidewalk calling his name, my stepmother grabbed me by the arm – HARD – and as she squeezed and twisted, she seemed to relish telling me that Lucky and his Mom, Terry were running around on a farm for mongrel dogs!!!
Many of you know about that “farm” and this is another way that Lucky was the dog that taught me about LOVE and LOSS and moved me towards a life in rescue.
Now, all these years later and I am so LUCKY – to be celebrating 16 years of House with a Heart and being surrounded by dogs (and kitties) who will always share their love with licks and snuggles and kisses……and all of the amazing volunteers, and supporters who have become the wind beneath my wings and made it possible to echo every day of every year – LOVE LIVES HERE!!!