I believe the story of my first puppy matters because it shows that God cares even down to a child's longing for a pet. It is also a story of how I had to deal with the death of that puppy and is a part of growing up. I had wanted a puppy but I'm not sure my parents had money to put out to purchase a pet. One of my best friends who lived in my neighborhood had some puppies to give away. She brought them all to my house and one little one just came to me and melted my heart. Well, my parents consented and I had my dog, even though he had to stay outside. My dad gave me lots of ideas for a name including the name Lancelot. For some reason we settled on the name Leroy. I really have no idea where he came up with that name at the time, because it was unfamiliar to me as a child. Here is Leroy's story in poetry form:
My first puppy at age nine,
was very dear you see.
Of all the puppies there in line,
he ran straight to me.
By my side he would stay,
that mutt so cute and brown.
And when my brothers, rough would play,
my pup would knock them down.
Walking to the library
one day with my class,
Imagine my surprise to see
him sitting in the grass.
My classmates were enthralled.
A dog had come to school!
Digging under the fence he'd crawled,
using his paws as tools.
How did he find his way
along that common mile?
He somehow knew just where to go
and how to make me smile.
I don't remember how many years I had that puppy, but one morning he was not acting himself and we realized he was sick. My dad told me it was distemper which was like pneumonia for a dog. I think he may have talked to a vet, but I am not sure. Anyway, Leroy did not get better and had to be put to sleep.
I remember the trip to the vet to say goodbye. He rode on my lap in the car, and I'm sure I was crying. My dad was very sympathetic and understood how I felt. He said afterwards that he wished we had let him in the house that night since it was so very cold. He was a short haired dog and probably couldn't handle it. He was in a sheltered storage area, but it was not heated. We lived in Florida, and I think the extreme cold that night might have come as a surprise.
Anyway, that's the story as I remember it. I choose to remember the fun times I had with my very own dog. He really loved me, too, as he always wanted to be with me. My brothers must have been 6 and 3 at the time, and the dog really would jump and growl at them if they pretended to hit me. He was determined to protect me.