I’ll never forget it. One year ago, we pulled into a long dirt driveway in Molino, Florida. The grass was long. The sky was blue. A farmhouse sat in the distance.
I opened my truck door and saw a litter of bloodhound puppies running in all directions. One puppy in particular caught my attention. A girl.
She ran slower than the rest. She had paws that were ten sizes too big for her body. Her ears were long enough to be featured in a Disney animated film. Her clumsy gait was more bounce than run.
“She’s the runt,” said the man. “Can’t quite keep up with the others, bless her heart. She tries so hard.”
The puppy’s brothers and sisters had left her in the dust. They were chasing something together in a pack, but their runt sister was too far away to catch up. So she stopped and caught her breath, watching them play without her.
“See?” said the man. “She’s sorta slow, they always leave
her out, but she sure is sweet.”
I wandered toward her, talking to her in a high-pitched voice.
I come from rural people. Something within my DNA makes me use a high-pitched voice around babies, animals, and during arguments with my wife.
The dog looked at me. And because she descended from generations of rural dogs, something inside her said “attack him.”
The puppy bounded toward me like a floppy piglet. I dropped to my knees. She tackled me. She ate my hat. Then she chewed on my earlobe.
And I knew that Heaven had made her just for me.
I wanted to call her “Thelma Lou” after Barney Fife’s girl on the Andy Griffith Show. Because in the great sitcom of life I am a lot like Barney Fife. I would love to be heroic like Andy, but I’m not. If you ever…