Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Missing Missy

When I taught middle school English, we read the book Where the Red Fern Grows. For those of you who don't know the book, it's about a boy who buys and trains 2 hunting dogs. I'll never forgot my first year of teaching when I was reading the ending of the book to my classes. The 2 dogs, whom we had grown to love, died protecting Billy from a mountain lion. As I was reading aloud to my class, I couldn't help but tear up. Pretty soon, my entire second hour had watery eyes as we finished the novel. Inevitably, if there is a dog on the cover of a children't book, it's bound to be a sad ending. Just put the book back and walk away. Your only other choice is to read it with a box of tissues handy.

This blog post is one of those books. My family's dog, Missy, passed away, and I can't help but write about her. My brothers and I begged for a dog while we were growing up. When I was really little, we had a cocker spaniel named Heidi, but I wouldn't say that I grew up with a dog. Finally, Josh's senior year of high school, he was given a pure white Siberian Husky as a Christmas gift from his girlfriend. We named her Mistletoe since it was Christmas time, and called her Missy.

She was a persnickety dog. She would spill her dog food onto the floor, so she could pick out certain pieces and leave the others. We had to put up an electric fence to keep her in the yard. She would simply put her head down, run through it, and bear the shock with a slight yelp. When Josh and Dad took her to obedience classes, the instructor had to put her in the back room because she kept barking during instructions. Daddy used to tell her that she put her eye-liner on too thick because of her dark rimmed eyes. Missy only allowed us to pet her if she was in a good mood, and getting her to come inside on gorgeous summer evenings was nearly impossible. She was definitely high maintenance, but she was loved and will be missed greatly.

After the last shovel of dirt was patted in place, I sat down and let my mind drift back through the years. I thought of the old K. C. Baking Powder can, and the first time I saw my pups in the box at the depot. I thought of the fifty dollars, the nickels and dimes, and the fishermen and blackberry patches.
I looked at his grave and, with tears in my eyes, I voiced these words: "You were worth it, old friend, and a thousand times over.”  - Where the Red Fern Grows 

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