Maybe That’s Why

Almost home after a day of errands with Mama and Daddy, my sisters and I were crammed into the back seat of the car. For a second we didn’t know what Mama meant when she spoke to Daddy in the driver’s seat.

“He’s gonna get hit.” Mama said.

We in the back seat jockeyed for position to get the best view through the windshield up front. We had to see who “he” was.

“He” was a dog.

The little blond dog trotted ahead of us right in the middle of the road. His fluffy tail, with long strands of blond hair trailing in the wind, curved up towards his back. He paid no attention when we passed but as we turned into our driveway he followed.

Daddy came to a stop in the driveway and so did the little dog. Through the window the dog and I stared at each other. He sat.

“Why’d he come here?” asked one of my sisters.

“Who knows.” Mama answered.

I leaned forward to poke my head between the two sitting in the front seat.

“Can we keep him?” I asked.

From the front came their synchronized “No.”

I offered a follow-up. “Why?”

“We already have a dog.” Daddy said as he opened her car door.

“Don’t touch him!” Mama yelled when I hopped from the car and walked straight to the little dog. “You don’t know what he might do.” she warned.

I talked to the dog as I approached. He wagged his tail before slightly baring his teeth. I stopped. He wagged his tail again then flopped to the ground on his back, bared his teeth even more, and appeared to squint.

He hadn’t snarled. He had smiled.

For that reason, Daddy named him “Smiley”. For a reason I don’t recall, I named him “Chip”. He never answered to either, but we kept the dog we couldn’t keep.

Chip was by my side constantly. He waited on the back porch when I went inside, followed me around the yard, and walked with me across the field to my grandmother’s. Our connection was instant and he acted as if I’d had him forever. Whenever I came home from being gone he’d squint, smile, and drop to have his belly rubbed.

Chip even followed me to the pasture where I picked blackberries. It had been a good summer for blackberries and cousins and I picked them by the quart for our grandmother who sold them and gave us the money. I’d picked blackberries all summer to save for a new bicycle. The one I wanted cost a hundred dollars, a lot of money at the time. I had so far earned ninety-four dollars but Chip’s arrival had temporarily slowed me from picking. I was back at it, excited that I’d almost reached my hundred dollar goal.

“He’s gonna get hit.” Mama said. “I had to get him out of the road again today.” Though normally by my side, whenever I was away Chip was seen walking in the middle of the road as he’d done that very first day. We sometimes caught him doing that at night.

The little dog had been at our house for maybe a month when Mama woke me up early one morning. “Something’s wrong with Chip.” she said.

I went outside to find him lying on the back porch. He didn’t stand up and the gash in the thigh of his left hind leg was still bloody. He’d have to go to the vet but I knew I had some money saved and I made it clear I would pay.

Daddy drove me to take the little dog to the vet and lectured me all the way. This is what happens when you have a dog, now money will need to be spent, the dog should have stayed out of the road, and on and on. He was mad that I’d spend my money on a stray dog. At the time I didn’t recognize his “anger” for what it really was. Disappointment. Not in me but for me. I’d worked and saved towards a goal and after almost reaching it this had happened. He thought I was being stupid.

I thought he was being heartless and I told him he’d never had a heart when it came to animals. It was a very rough argument.

The vet supposed Chip had been hit by a car. The little dog left the vet’s office with a shaved leg, several stitches, and a drainage tube dangling from the wounded area.  I left the vet’s office minus ninety-four dollars. I never knew what Daddy paid in addition but I’m sure it was plenty.

For the next two weeks I cleaned the drainage tube and waited for the next vet appointment. All went well and the tube and stitches were soon removed. Chip was energetic as ever. The only sign that anything had even happened to him was the shaved patch on his leg where the hair had just started to come back.

The next morning he was gone.

We searched the neighborhood, questioned everyone we saw, and in morbid reality we checked the ditches. No sign of Chip. We continued to search for him off and on for a few weeks before deciding he’d simply run away like he’d done from the people before us.

“Why’d he even come here?” I asked.

“Who knows.”  Daddy said.

Weeks passed and although we didn’t forget about Chip, we stopped looking.

I was in the yard when Daddy pulled in the driveway and told me to get in the car. He thought he’d seen Chip. We rode less than a mile down the street before entering another neighborhood. Two small girls played in a sandbox under a tree. Lying beside them in the grass was a little blond dog.

Daddy parked and we got out. I walked towards the dog, still unsure. He happened to wag his tail when one of the girls giggled and I saw the long blond hairs wave in the air.

“Chip?” The same dog who had never once answered to that name sat up instantly. He stood and walked slowly towards me. It was him.

He squinted, smiled, and dropped in front of me waiting for me to rub his belly.

A man came from the house and started talking to Daddy. As I rubbed Chip’s belly I heard Daddy ask questions about the dog. Apparently they’d had “Buddy” for eight years and he’d been a good dog, never leaving home, but a while back he suddenly disappeared for a month or so. When he came back he looked good but oddly one of his legs had been shaved.

Daddy explained all of that.

Funny too, the man went on to say, but Buddy never walks in the middle of the road anymore. He used to do that all the time.

“Why’d he go to your house?” the man wondered out loud.

“Who knows.” Daddy answered.

I was still rubbing Buddy’s belly when he stood and casually walked back to the sandbox where he wagged his tail at the girls before lying down again in the shade. Daddy walked over to where I stood and we watched Buddy roll onto his back, inviting the little girls to rub his belly.

I felt no sadness really, just a surge of happy satisfaction seeing my Chip, their Buddy, back where he belonged.

Daddy and I got in the car and sat for a minute. He watched me, to gauge my reaction to the situation I suppose. When he realized I felt pretty happy, he felt pretty happy too. I’d grown up a little maybe and I think he noticed. Under his breath Daddy said “See ya later, Smiley” and watched the little dog over his shoulder as we drove away. I noticed that.

Daddy and I hadn’t had much to say to each other since the bad argument on the way to the vet that morning some weeks ago, but we talked all the way back home.

“Yep.” Daddy said as we turned into our driveway. “Who knows why he ever came here.”

I wasn’t sure either why a dog that had never left home in eight years would follow us into our driveway, cause an uproar for a month, then go back home.

Then again… Daddy learned I’d grown up a little, I learned my father had a heart, and Buddy learned to stay out of the road.

So maybe that’s why. And that’s enough.

Stuart M. Perkins

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312 Comments

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312 responses to “Maybe That’s Why

  1. I really loved reading this. It’s so heartwarming. Makes you realise that things don’t last forever but a brief meeting still has meaning like when the boy reflected on realising he was growing up. A brief encounter can still have significance. You’re a really wonderful writer 🙂

  2. you’re quite gifted,keep the flames burning

  3. A great, heart warming story. Love your writing style. Keep up the good work.
    Tom

  4. Wow – I love your writing! Your easy-going, conversational style pulled me into your story immediately. So glad I popped in to see what you do!

  5. I loved this! Heartwarming and cute all the same time. Truly speaks to a love of animals as well. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Thanks for following my blog, I have returned the favour.

    Dan
    Real Football Man

  7. Very nice story, really enjoyed it. Of course, I do have a soft spot for dogs, and had one hit by a car. So it was an interesting, moving and pleasant read for me. Thanks.

  8. Pingback: Maybe That’s Why [reblog] | MayVaneDay

  9. nice story. a reao treat for a dog person. ps thank you for following my blog.

  10. Lovely write-up Stuart. Sometimes we have to let go that which we were privileged to briefly enjoy. Thank you for following my blog

  11. Wow… Your story just made me shed a tear and half about the blond dog I had as a child.. a dog I haven’t cried about in just about 20 years! Our Terry also walked away… but unlike the girls who got their doggy back, we were not as fortunate. Thank you for sharing and thank you for reminding me 🙂

  12. Love this. An eye opener, makes one grateful and appreciate every moment that was given to us. Beautifully written.

  13. Maybe that’s why I like this story… Too beautiful. Rich with emotion and humanity.
    💓 my heart is still throbbing.
    Thank you!

  14. Mgborem

    Lol Very nice read Stuart.

  15. Great story! Proof that life’s lessons comes in all shapes and sizes.

  16. Dogs, man. Really touching story. Thank you. 🙂

  17. You write such wonderful stories. Thank you! 🙂

  18. Great story. Makes me wonder if there are any childhood stories to tell of my own. Hmmm.

  19. You had me at ‘what’s new in the antique store’.

  20. Beautiful story…kept me interested till the end 👍

  21. Buddy is so fortunate to have so many humans that love him. This made me teary. 😍

  22. ‘we kept the dog we couldn’t keep’. After reading this, now, we’re all keeping the dog you couldn’t keep. 🙂

  23. I love this story. I love the bonds between people and dogs. I explain my take on the subject in my latest post at http://www.healthonwheels.wordpress.com. Thanks for being one of the people who “get” it. 🙂

  24. Hey Stuart, You are a great blogger, I just recently started. Thank you for showing some love to my blogger.What an inspiration
    C. Gibbs

  25. Oh, what a beautiful story and so well written! If our hearts could stay as pure as those of our canine companions… I love how Chip/Buddy gave you and your Dad a new appreciation for each other. Thank you for sharing your talent 🙂
    Ashleigh

  26. Many years ago, on a whim, we adopted a little dog for our kids from a pet rescue. He was the nicest dog and obedient from day one. We had him for about a year and a half when we realized that we were not dog people, after an incident that I won’t get into. At just about that time, some good friends had a dog that died. We mentioned that we wished ours would die, and right then they decided to ask if they could have him.
    That dog was not right for us! But, it looks like were just keeping him for the right people to have at the right time. They loved that dog for many years. Sometimes things in life are just meant to be for a moment.

  27. Excellent story, Stuart. I loved it – you had me right up to the very end.

  28. rudyhou

    i sighed at the end. with a big smile on my face. thank you for this. very heart warming.

  29. -Angela-

    I love reading your stories. Heart warming, indeed. ❤

  30. Hi Stuart,
    You really do have a wonderful way of telling stories. I found myself riveted right from the beginning to the satisfying conclusion. I should really be working on a blog post but have dallied at your site instead. Thanks for a providing a pleasant evening and reading experience.

  31. I loved this story, it reminds me of when I was younger and my dad and I would pick up random, stray, flea bitten puppies and take them home. My mum would scold us but we’d spend hours cleaning them up and loving them. We’d care for them and then make sure they went to a good home. My dad taught me how to be kind to animals.

  32. Beautiful story! It’s a great read to start my day- and realizing sometimes things happens with reasons unknown.

  33. Wonderful writing! If I wasn’t leaving for work I would settle into your blog for the entire day. 🙂

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