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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Slices of Life: Kindness worth a tail wag




By: Jill Pertler


I love kind-hearted friends.

You know, the type of person who brings a stray dog home from the park and gives him food and water and never once says, “If we feed him he’ll never leave.”

Those kind of friends.

After the dog’s belly is full, a kind-hearted person will comb the tangled mats out of his hair and give him a warm bath, during which she will discover that his fur is creamy white and not dark brown after all.

When a kind-hearted person notices the dog shivering after his bath, she will say, “Go get the blow dryer so we can fluff him. He’s spent enough nights being cold.”

After all this, the dog will be tired. A kind-hearted person doesn’t bring a dog home, feed him and clean him up just to make him spend the night outside on the freezing concrete. She makes a bed for him on the floor near the radiator with an old quilt. She attaches the dog’s leash to the radiator so he can’t roam the house and mark his territory during the night. (Kind does not equal naive.)

Next, a kind-hearted person contacts the animal shelter. She isn’t ready yet to bring the dog in, but wants to inquire whether he’s been reported missing. She is not hopeful. This dog was very dirty and hungry. His paws were muddy and his snout was scraped. He’d been outside for more than a day or two.

No one has called looking for him. At this, a kind-hearted person will simply sigh.

Just because a person is kind-hearted does not mean she collects pets on a regular basis. A kind-hearted person might help a stray pooch, but she doesn’t necessarily want to keep him forever. She and her kind-hearted family decide to call the dog, “Dog,” because they understand once you give an animal a real name, he is yours for good.

Within the next few days a kind-hearted person sees to it Dog is visited by the veterinarian and pet groomer. He gets shots and a haircut and is beginning to look quite handsome and feel rather healthy.

His photo is posted on Facebook, in case anyone wants a nearly cream-colored curly-haired dog named Dog. Even though he’s cute and doesn’t shed, there are no takers.

For the next week, Dog stays with the kind-hearted person. He is loving and grateful. His tail wags more often. He knows where to find his water. He sleeps on his blanket. He even takes possession of a stuffed animal, which he carries around in his mouth.

The kind-hearted person doesn’t worry about the toy being chewed or getting wet from slobber. She is glad Dog has found a friend.

Soon the leash is no longer permanently tethered to the radiator and Dog enjoys intermittent run of the house. He’s pretty well-behaved about his new-found freedom. He may have an accident or two, but feels guilty afterward and tries to make up for it by licking the kind-hearted person’s legs.

The kind-hearted person notes all this and thinks, “At least he doesn’t shed.” Then she gives him a maple-flavored dog biscuit, but not too soon after one of his accidents because she doesn’t want him to think he’s getting treats for doing bad things. Then she pets him behind the ears right in the spot where he likes it best.

A kindhearted person realizes bringing Dog home to sleep by the radiator was a temporary situation. He can’t live in limbo forever. He needs a real home and a real family.

I talked with my kind-hearted friend yesterday and she told me some news. “I think we’ve decided on a name for him,” she said.

I realized then that a little stray pup had found a new kind-hearted family and I was glad because I like stories with the happy endings almost as much as I like having kind-hearted friends.

Jill Pertler, award-winning syndicated columnist and author of “The Do-It-Yourselfer’s Guide to Self-Syndication” is collecting fans on Facebook on her Slices of Life page. Email her at pertmn@qwest.net; or visit her website at http://marketing-by-design.home.mchsi.com/. This column is for Dexter, who is much too cute to be called Dog.

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