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Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Gets a Home
by M. Robbins

Happy, a homeless curly hair dog, was the envy of all the dogs
in his neighborhood who had masters.

Happy could jump in the air after butterflies without anyone
telling him he looked silly.

He could chase squirrels around tree trunks without hearing
a voice yelling after him to leave the poor things alone.

He could even lie down for a long nap in Hazel Brown’s petunia
bed if he wanted, though Hazel Brown did usually yell at him.

Yes, Happy was the envy of all the dogs in the neighborhood and
he should have been happy; but Happy wasn’t.

Whenever Happy saw Mrs. Crockett leave her house with her
poodle, Pal, tucked underneath her arm, Happy wished he was
tucked under Mrs. Crockett’s other arm.

When Mr. Jones took his English setter, Frisky, out on a leash
each evening for a walk, Happy wished he was walking on the
other side of Mr. Jones.

And whenever the sky would grow dark and it would start to
thunder, Happy certainly wished he could run into the safety
of Tina Sampson’s house with Jonathan, Mrs. Sampson’s
German shepherd puppy.

And though Happy tried to remember to look both ways
before he crossed the congested street, he wished Mr. Smith
would grow as pale as Mr. Smith did when Rocket, his boxer,
frolicked too close to the highway.

There was no doubt about it, Happy was not happy and he
envied the other dogs. They had masters and homes; he did not.

On his rounds in the neighborhood one day, Happy greeted a
newcomer into the neighborhood. “Hi! My name is Happy,”
he said as he tried to sniff noses with the Irish setter who
was standing behind a white picket fence.

The newcomer eagerly pushed forward his head. “My name is
Reddy, but everyone calls me ‘Red.’ I am new on the block and
haven’t met any of the dogs. You’re my first friend here.”

Red peered between the gaps of the picket fence to look at
the houses in the neighborhood. “I bet you live in the green house
right across the street, though I am surprised that you are allowed
to cross such a busy street.”

Happy sadly looked down. “No,” he said, “that’s not my home.”
Then he wagged his tail. “Though I don’t live there, the people
who live there have a neat yard. I usually sleep on the grassy
slope beside their house.”

Red cocked one of his silky ears. “Surely you don’t live two doors
down on this side of the street, do you? I didn’t think they owned
a dog.”

Happy laid down this time and said nothing for a long minute.
Then he quietly spoke. “No, that’s not my house, but I wish it
were. The people in that house try to regularly feed me, but they
rent the house and their landlord won’t let them have pets. I’m
afraid that I’m just a homeless dog,” Happy sighed. “Oh, how I
wish I had a nice master who loved me!” Happy turned his head
as he started to cry.

And then it happened! As thunder rumbled through the air,
Happy heard the unfamiliar voice of Red’s master.

“Red, you had better come in. It's really going to rain and you
know how frightened you get when...,” Reddy’s master stopped
speaking as he saw Happy sitting on the other side of the fence.

Love, hope and disappointment can exist in the same moment
and this was such a time. Happy held his breath as Mr. Newman’s
large hand squeezed through the fence and touched Happy’s
curly hair. As Mr. Newman’s fingers searched for the non-existent
collar, Happy trembled, and as Mr. Newman stood and walked a
way, Happy hesitantly backed up. “Surely I’ve missed another
chance to have a home,” Happy thought sadly.

Then it happened! Suddenly Happy found the picket gate opened
and found himself surrounded and being petted by a young girl and boy.

Happy looked up into their faces and threw back his head in a
half howling - half barking voice. He was so glad to feel their hands
on his fur.

Mr. Newman laughed at Happy’s excitement; then he placed his
hands into his children’s hands and said simply, “Kids, I think
God has sent us another dog to love.”

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