As I awoke on the following day, my son called out to me from his room and mentioned that a small black dog was hiding under a tree across the street. There was a terrible storm outside; the rain came down strong and the typical summer lightening and thunder resonated throughout the house. The weather improved as the day progressed and we prepared for my father's viewing. To my surprise the little black dog had moved into my backyard and lay frozen without moving under a tree. I called to him, brought out water and food, yet he was terrified of me. When I moved away, he came drank water and ate his food quickly from the bowl. I observed that he had no collar, and he was thin, dirty and his hair was tangled. Who knows how long he had been wondering the streets.
The following day, the day of my father's funeral, the dog was still waiting under the tree. In fact for the next 7 days he remained in my backyard, no gate or fence and every morning I would leave to take the children to school and myself to work, and he would watch us leave as he stood on the front steps. The children worried that he would leave and begged me to tie him up. I would not. I had made a pact with this little fellow the day I buried my father. I told him if he stayed for a week in my yard with no barriers, he could live in my home forever. My heart knew how battered and bruised his life had been up until that moment. I knew he was a good and loving dog and though I could never erase what terrible things had been done to him, I knew he would find refuge and comfort in this new home with people who wanted him.
And so, it was. On the 7th day, I opened the patio door, and he walked in. Not only did he get a warm bath in his own tub, but he was fed and cared for like a king. Even got his own doggy insurance a few days later. I always say he lives better than a lot of people on this planet. He never sleeps outside in the rain or cold, always enjoys air conditioning, eats pizza every now and then, goes to the vet regularly and has a family that kisses him in the morning, afternoon and night. We even plan our vacations around him. You know "must allow dogs."
Why you may ask is this 40 pound lab chow mix so loved in my home? Ask my children and they will tell you that grandpa sent him. My father knew how much the kids wanted a dog. I, however, cringed at the idea because I knew how much work it would mean for me. Falling in love with Woody was just so easy. Although I couldn't even touch him for days, with patience he learned to trust me. He is by my side at all times, and he is most definitely an integral part of this family.