By Jessica J.E. Smith – Guest Writer
What if this week never ends? Barking, barking, and more barking. The dogs would bark, and we would say, “How high?” We trudged through morning chores, with permanent looks of misery upon our faces, and counted the minutes until we could escape to a more peaceful seclusion without the constant hounding of the hounds.
This quiet reverie would be short-lived, as the mutts wait on no one. They all needed exercise, and medicine had to be given every few hours. Learning all of their names was not the hardest part, although it seemed the most frustrating. The most difficult of it all was certainly keeping our patience. Winston Churchill once said, “When you are going through hell, keep going.” We felt that this was the motto of our week, and that if we stuck to it there would indeed be an end to the madness.
In the afternoon, I once tried to take a nap, but soon discovered that this was much easier dreamed about than done. With each dog vying for a spot where they would be curled up next to me, I was shortly jilted from my efforts to rest.
As each day progressed to the inevitable dimness of evening, I wondered just when it was that my parents had lost their minds, and what, if anything, I could do to help them find their sanity once more. As I pondered this question, we dove into evening chores. Before putting the dogs to bed, we would retreat to the sanctity of the almost tranquil back porch.
And, at the end of the day it finally hit me: this was all worth it.
I looked up from my spot on the hanging porch swing, and I saw Charlie digging up his dirt. I remembered how many times Mom had called me after he got Kennel Cough, and how worried she was. I remember her telling me how heartbroken Daddy was, and how the vet wasn’t sure that Charlie was going to make it. I knew that Charlie was one of his favorites, and that if they lost Charlie from this disease, it would hurt him deeply. Daddy pulls each little critter that he loves into a special place in his heart. This place holds them forever, with all the heartache and happiness that they experience together. I have seen him lose a friend that was given to him in the form of a dog, and I have felt that same pain in my life. I knew the devastation it would cause, so I hoped and prayed that Charlie would recover.
And here I was, at the end of the day, watching Charlie dig the dirt from one end of the flower bed to the other, only to move it back once again. He had recovered to regain his old pizzazz, and I couldn’t help but grin at the serenity of it all. I finally saw that my parents had indeed found a happiness that is extremely rare and certainly unique. At the end of the day, I envied them their joy.
Our daughter, Jessica, wrote this in 2003 after taking on our sanctuary for a full week; allowing her father and I to take a much needed vacation.