Family pets live up to name, change people#039;s lives

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 9, 2005

She sauntered playfully, yet oh so cautiously, onto the front porch of our home.

Her eyes bore a sense of pleading, as if asking for comfort, for rest.

Whistling north winds had chilled her, she was cold and wet, shivering as her eyes begged. Her appearance was worn and tattered, her gait was gaunt and thin, she was truly in need of help.

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Warmly, my family embraced her, tending to her urgent needs of food, drink and warmth. She welcomed the comfort of a shouldered blanket as fatigue overcame her.

Her weary eyes found solace, drifting her ever so peacefully into sleep. We watched as an orphan lay resting in our own living room.

Dawn's light awakened a sense of magic. Giggling rippled throughout our home as my wife and I were less than subtly summonsed to an early wake-up call. Our orphaned friend, with a sparkle in her eyes, had also found an early morning - it seemed that our daughters had found a new playmate.

As the coffee brewed, my wife and I watched as two little girls turned our living room into a gymnasium, frolicking about with our newly rejuvenated orphaned friend, a 6-month old Doberman pinscher.

How is it possible that trying to excite children into learning is like pulling teeth, yet give them one hour with a puppy and they can invent seven different games by themselves?

We never could locate her true home and, &#8220She-Bop” - as she would soon be named - quickly took over the roost.

She was sensitive, gentle, and of very discriminating tastes. Within six months, only a velour blanket, along with her end of the couch were acceptable for both naps and night time crashing-out.

Yummies were expected between meals and only a special blend of both dry and canned food would suffice as her dietary requirements.

Bathroom breaks could only occur if it were neither cold nor rainy and she preferred those romps in the back yard to be consistent, and not conflict with her scheduled napping.

She soon had her own seat in the car, and preferred that the driver's side window be slightly lowered, sniffing the fresh air was mandatory while she cruised.

Her sense of radar was uncanny. Her internal clock gave her a sense of whether or not a particular noise was unusual, and would require investigation.

The school bus stopping out front, the sound of my truck door or my wife's car door shutting, would only illicit a raising of one eye from her nap. Yet, let a Fed-Ex truck stop, and she was sparked into action - frowning and watching. I grew to feel a sense of ease, knowing her instincts, and that she was with my family when I was not.

She was a quick study in the neighborhood also. This debutante had conned every neighbor into smiles, hugs and yes - most important - yummies. She knew her turf and wore it so well. Not only did her sly captivation enrapture us, but a large part of our community, too.

She paid her dues though. She seemed to always be able to withstand attacks from the girls. Through the gouging, prodding and even &#8220playing dress-up” - they would actually dress her in clothing from time to time - she would only sit with a disgusted look on her face.

As many a mere dog may have contemplated striking, these were &#8220her girls,” and a pure motherly sense toward any of us was her truest nature. Hers' was the sweetest of heart, to the core.

This road weary little girl, who literally showed-up on our doorstep shivering and cold, gave us the some of the best times of our lives. She rests forever now, as a legend to both us and many who knew her.

My family has been forever gifted and blessed by her and her 14 some years as an adopted member. We will always hold a tear in our eyes, and a smile in our hearts, when we think of her.

Thank you God, for sending an orphan to our doorstep.

Ralph E. Ison is a 47-year-old resident of Franklin Furnace. Ison is a Green High School graduate. He and wife Linda have two daughters. He can be reached by e-mail at