"Whoever said you can't buy happiness forgot little puppies."
- Gene Hill
It was the last night of our summer. We went horseback riding with my two cousins John and Aaron.
It was near dusk, summer's end, nearly the end of August.
I know I was dreading going back to the 'city' where we lived and went to school.
Our summers were spent 'up North'.
I hated summer's end.
My Grandfather had a dog named Spot who was probably part Terrier. She'd died over winter of old age. I missed the little dog who was more like a cat. She'd bring you dead animals and allowed you to pet her when she'd see fit.
Grandpa and Grandma hadn't said much, we didn't ask if they were going to get another dog...perhaps they'd even hinted that 'nope, they didn't need another dog'.
For some reason my two cousins picked a different route for our ride, we took a 'shortcut' along the blacktop as we didn't have the whole night to ride.
Ahead of us a van swerved over to the side of the road.
A door opened and to our complete disbelief, dogs were dumped out. Puppies and young dogs that were half starved.
Some ran off into the forest and others staggered into traffic.
The van took off spitting gravel.
Horrified we cantered up to where the van had stopped.
Shadows of dogs ran off into the night.
Oncoming traffic stopped.
We ended up catching a puppy that was bright red and white, some sort of Spaniel mix.
We may have had a conversation that went something like this...
"My mom would kill us if we brought home another stray..."
"We already have two, our mom would...yeah...kill us if we brought home a puppy."
And we decided.
We couldn't leave it.
I tucked the half starved pup in my shirt and mounted up. We discussed our options all the way back home to my cousins' house.
"What about Grandpa?"
We decide Grandpa might want the puppy. Now to convince our moms.
Mom drove us back to our place. My sister and I took turns holding the puppy we'd nicknamed 'Bones' because she was nothing but a bag of ... well, bones.
When we got home, we walked to Grandma and Grandpa's house through the wet dewy grass and the dark.
The puppy moaned in my hands.
I know I was hoping against hope that Grandpa would say yes.
We knocked on the door.
Grandpa opened it up and turned the kitchen light on, motioning us in.
Somehow we managed to stammer out the story of riding down the blacktop and how we saw the van.
Then we placed 'Bones' in his big gnarled hands.
By that time Grandma had come into the kitchen.
Grandpa sat down on a kitchen chair, the puppy was staring up into his face.
Grandpa couldn't take his eyes off from her.
"Ma," he said, "git me some warm milk and bread. Looks like we gotta feed Freckles."
We looked at each other and then back at Grandpa. He was holding the puppy close and stroking her.
"I'm gonna call her Freckles," he said holding up the pup so we could see the spots he pointed to on her nose, "See? She's got lots of them!"
[Freckles lived a long and prosperous life with my Grandparents. She was the apple of Grandpa's eye who loved to tell the story of how his grandchildren rescued her from the side of the road.
In those days, there were no 'Rescues' for dogs to go to. Adopting a stray was not even heard of.
What happened to the other dogs? I never found out.]