When I rented the small apartment on Fifthteen Avenue and Fletcher Street in Hollywood Florida I did not know that I would have met a great friend there.
I had just moved back from Los Angeles a few weeks before. I didn’t like L.A.Too big too strange,too many earthquakes. I thought I was better off with hurricanes, at least I knew when they were coming. I had driven a cab before in the Hollywood-Ft.Lauderdale area so , as the new Winter season approached I moved back to Florida and went back to drive a taxi.
She was laying on the floor with a sad look in her eyes like only dogs can have; she didn’t look happy at all. Randy was Marylin’s ten years’ old son and they were living in the main house.
A door in the front yard and one in the back. From the back door there was the entrance to my apartment and “Andy” was always staying there, with that sad look in her eyes. I soon realized why. Randy got a new puppy, he must have been trhee or four months old. He was jumping up and down like puppies do all the time, licking faces and stumbling on water containers, barking for no reasons at ants or roaches or lizards.Andy was sad because all of Randy’s attention was now focused on that hyper dog that was responding to him as he excpected.
“You have got a new dog I see..”
“Yep.you like him?”
“I do!” I love dogs, but what about Andy over there” I said pointing at the black Labrador with the sad look”
“Oh ,she is old, and blind.that is why I got him”
I approached Andy and saw that white look that a dog and a human get on their pupil when they are blind. I massaged her slowly in the neck .
“How long has she been like this?”
“Two years now” ”
I noticed that when Randy spoke, the fourteen years old Labrador turned her head towards the voice as if she was asking for some of that love that she needed so badly and was only granted to the new entry.
“She still loves you Randy”
“Yes, I know, but she’s old and blind”
I would have loved to grab the scumbag by the balls and lift him up in the air. I did nothing of course but kept rubbbing Andy’s neck.
“Good girl,good girl”
“We are going to put her to sleep later on today”
I almost fell backwards
“We are going to New Jersey for a week and there is no way we’ll take two dogs up there, and..you know she’s blind” I looked at him with a mix of compassion and the urgent desire to kick him and teach him a lesson.
Then I realized that he would have never understood anyhow.
That was the way he was.
He was ten and considered the dog some kind of a toy.
The toy was broken.The toy was quickly replaced.
Nobody could have ever taught him what he needed to know about dogs. I considered myself lucky to have had so many dogs since I was a kid. I cannot remember a single year of my life when I lived without a dog. Big or small, full breed or mixed, male or female. When they died I cried for days and they taught me in my childhood that life is short, they taught me that it is good to cry to let it out, to feel better once the “horse of pain” stops running somehow you realize that life goes on and you will remember that friend you lost and place him in a very special room in your heart forever.
There was no way I’d let that dog being put to sleep.I went to the front door and rang the bell. Randy had left in the meantime with the puppy jumping up and down as they disappeared from the alley.
Marylin opened the door with the phone on her hand.
She was talking about the old labrador, the toy that was broken. I told her
” I want to adopt the Girl”
“Andy you mean?” She said putting the phone down as the conversation ended.
“I guess you’re a bit too late, they are coming as we speak”
“No no. Marylin.Call them back. I will take care of that dog. no killing please”
“Are you sure? She is blind, fourteen years old, she doesn’t have much time left.”
” I know, I heard the story from that stupid son of yours” I wanted to say , but I just settled for :”Please,let me take her in with me”
“Ok.Ill call them back.She’s all yours”
“Thanks Marylin you have just made me happy” I went to the back door and there she was, standing on the entrance,waiting for Randy to come back. I sat by her and started rubbing her back “Good girl,good girl” We soon started our relationship.
During the following days, weeks months Girl and I became good friends. She learned how to go about the apt without bumping her head everywhere.
Iwould share my best food with her. I treated her like a queen. The time came where I had to go back to Italy,and I could not leave her behind. I organized myself into taking her with me on the plane.It wasn’t easy but she eventually made it through the ordeal of an eight hours flight. It took her about a week to recuperate her strenght when I got home to Italy. Two years later, after I adopted her, on a rainy night, the Girl wandered outside the house.
I though she went out for a nature call so I did not mind following her outside. She did that many times.
That night it was raining hard and and she must have lost her bearings. She crossed the street. An hour later I went to check if she was ok. Found her on the other side of the highway. She was dead. I never cried so much for a dog in my life like I did for Girl. It took me a long time to get over it. Only today, sixteen years later I decided to share her and my story, after Im got my daughter a female labrador,Lola, just to show her how great these dogs can be.I consider dogs to be Angels, sent from above o teach us the laws of living wisely, as we lost them a long time ago and they still have in their DNA