PATRICIA SMITH: A Sign From Sherman
So here we are about to celebrate Christmas. Those of you who read my columns (all two of you, not counting my husband) know that my traditional Christmas column is about my horse Sherman, who passed away June 28, 2003 (the date becomes significant to the story I'm about to tell) at the age of 32.
Some people believe in signs and some don't. Those of you who do will not need a definition of what I mean by signs. Except perhaps to say, that the signs I'm referring to are sent by the universe.
So here is the story.
One June day, I was out driving my horse, with my husband on the back of the carriage navigating. We drove down a sandy lane near the house and saw an opened empty crate sitting on the ground.
We stopped to investigate and saw the inside was covered in fleas. First hint that there was an animal that had been dropped off.
Further down the road, we caught a glimpse of a black pup but he disappeared before we could get close to him. Obviously, someone had left the pup to fend for itself in the woods.
For two days, the pup would show up at my farm and sit in either of two places -- by my golf cart or by my truck. But when I went to approach him, he took off. He ran as fast as the wind, so I couldn't catch up with him even in the golf cart.
I left food and water out but still couldn't catch the little bugger.
On the third day, my plumber came to fix something and left the door of his van open. When we walked outside, there was the dog sitting by the door to his truck.
This time, the pup stayed seated.
I said, "Doug, do me a favor and crouch down and see if you can get that pup to come to you. I think a man with a truck must have dropped him off and he is looking for him." Sure enough, he coaxed the dog to him, picked him up and handed him to me.
I immediately took the pathetic pup to the barn and washed off about six million fleas and took off about the same amount of ticks. I told him not to bite me and, of course, he didn't.
So there I was with three dogs of my own and this little black ball of lightning.
My friends Sherry and Tom had recently lost their black Lab. The little pup could pass for a Lab. I called Sherry at work and told her that I found this adorable black Lab that I would have to take to animal control unless she took him.
I ran him down to her store and I told her I would take him to the veterinarian to make sure he didn't have heartworm (hoping he didn't have heartworm which might kill the deal) and get him his rabies shot.
As luck would have it, he was heartworm-free.
Sherry met me at the veterinarian's office to claim her new dog.
It dawned on me there and then that the date was June 28, 2004 -- one year to the day that my horse Sherman had passed away.
We both agreed -- it was a sign.
Sherry called back later that day to tell me they had named the dog Sherman.
Patricia Smith can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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