Originally posted on Havanese Forum at 4:47 on Dec 28, 2016
Reprinted on buyhavanese by permission of the author
Permission given: December 29 @m 1:14 PM via firstname.lastname@example.org
During his communication with me on December 29, Wilson shared the following about the story that he had written:
"I am greatly surprised this has brought so many people to tears. When I wrote the article, I will admit I cried (all) the time I was typing. I wanted to share with people that animals are not things. As Betty said, she experienced difficult times, and Sandy was right there with her."
What struck me and hundreds of other people who read this story on Havanese Forum was the honesty and humanity that Wilson captured within this short vignette.
Buyhavanese thanks Wilson for allowing us to share his story on this website with our reading audience. We hope that it will give you pause during this holiday season and every day of the year to think about the love and care given to the furry friends of the elderly, even as their owners struggle while on a tight pension to meet their pets' basic needs. When next I see an elderly person who is clearly not well off walking his or her dog, you can bet that I will take the time to learn about the dog and its owner in a more meaningful way.
I've taken the liberty of adding a photo to this story. This photo is not one of Betty and Sandy but it is representative of the meaning and content behind the story.
This is Wilson's Different Christmas Story...
A Different Christmas Story
By: Wilson Havanese
Several days ago, I was at a pet store chain. The store was busy with last minute dog gift buyers. As I was walking around, I could not help but notice an elderly woman and her dog. They were both moving slowly. For a moment, I could not help but wonder if the dog was keeping the pace, or vice versa.
From a distance, it was clear this old dog was loved. The woman intermittently would reach down and pet her dog while describing what the dog was looking at. I walked over to her and asked if I may pet her dog. The woman just beamed, and said of course. She said the dog’s name was Sandy.
While I petted Sandy, her owner told me "I've had her for 16 years. She's the best dog I ever knew. Never caused me a minute of trouble. We had some hard times together. Things were difficult living on my pension. But, I always made sure Sandy had food, a safe place to lay her head. We took the bus here today. We haven't been here in years. It's hard for us to get around anymore. Truth be told, I stopped being able to afford things in here a long time ago. The reason we are here today is this will be my last Christmas with Sandy. She has a tumor, and the doc thinks it's time. So, after Christmas, our life together will end. Today is her whatever you want to do day, I want her to pick out something special. I saved twelve dollars for her gift. What do you think an old dog would like?”
I watched her gnarled arthritic fingers stroke Sandy’s fur as she waited for my reply. My heart was breaking for both of them. I told her the best gift that Sandy could ever get was standing right beside her. We walked around ever so slowly, the owner telling me about their life together. I was so moved by this bond between dog and owner. Sandy got a soft blanket and soft food. And squeaky Santa.
I offered to drive them home, but said I needed to stop at the grocery. I made a mad dash into the store grabbing things for her holiday meal, and life essentials. I purchased a $500.00 gift card. I wanted to make her struggle a little less.
After arriving at her home, I began to unload the groceries. Her face lit up when she saw the eggs. She said, "Now I can make Sandy’s favorite thing. Scrambled eggs!”
I handed her the gift card. Petted Sandy. Walked out the door crying.
Update posted on Havanese Forum from Wilson Havanese December 28 at 12:46pm
Sandy passed away on December 26.
Her Mom said,
"The old girl went to sleep very peaceful. I thanked her for all the joy she brought into my life. I told her I was going to be ok, and she could go on. She minded me one last time. She took her last breath. I went home to a empty house. It felt lonely. I sat in that chair for a good long time. Just thinking about that old dog. Tears came. Anyway, the next day I found another old girl dog that needed an old lady like me. I will be getting her tomorrow. I think Sandy sent her my way. That old dog always looked out for me.
Thank you all for your kindness about Sandy. She was my best friend.
My new old dog is a poodle and terrier. She is small. About 11 pounds. Her name is Sparky. "
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