The Puppy Next Door

Rascal

He was one of a litter of pups that was dropped off in the neighborhood. The little girl next door cuddled him in her arms and took him home. It was plain to see why she chose him, with his floppy ears, tiger-like stripes, and fury white chest. He was so cute just sitting there staring at us as we backed out of the driveway. Now looking back it’s as if he was thinking, “I don’t want to be here. I want to be over there with them.”

It wasn’t long before he began greeting my husband every day after work, his tail wagging a mile a minute, jumping and playing excitedly. Being the dog lover that he is, my husband couldn’t resist playing with him. “You little rascal,” he’d laugh, “what are you doing over here?”

Soon, it was evident that he no longer cared to live next door. I could understand why. No one was ever there to pay him attention, other than feed and water him. They were kind enough to leave the garage door cracked so he could come and go, and sleep at night. But like a child, a puppy needs lots of tender, loving care.

And that’s what he got at our house. Every morning he greeted us at the door. Every night he curled up in a ball and slept there. When we left for the day, he was still there to greet us when we came home. “You little rascal! Why are you still here? You better get on home now.” What we didn’t realize, however, is that he was home.

It was getting cold, and since he wasn’t budging from his spot on the front porch, we bought him a bed . . . and a blanket . . . and a few toys to keep him entertained. And of course he had to have a food and water bowl. Then we started bringing him in for a little while in the evenings. It was such a joy watching him romp and play, jumping in our laps and licking our faces. When 10:00 rolled around, we’d let him out where he’d curl up in his bed, and I’d tuck him in with his warm, fuzzy blanket.

This went on for several months, and since the neighbors didn’t seem to miss him, my husband asked them if we could have him. Now, four years and forty-six pounds later, he’s a happy, healthy, loving, playful house-dog with the fury white chest. Oh, and in case your’e wondering, we named him Rascal!

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