For several weeks, my family and I took care of two homeless dogs: Lassie,
a Shetland collie, and her son, a pup named Patches. Because we were unable
to keep them permanently, I advertised in a local newspaper offering the
dogs free to a good home.
Soon a man who had just lost his own Shelty showed up in our backyard. He
was offering a good home and a large yard. He and Lassie took to each other
At the point of decision, Lassie stood hovering on the patio, looking to me
to see what I would do. The dear dog sensed my anguish, but I knew I had to
let go. On my word, Lassie turned, went toward the new owner, and nuzzled
Patches along. Patches did not want to go and kept returning to me with
what I call that sweet puppy grin. Only love made it possible to let them
go. It was one of the hardest decisions I ever made, and we sent all of
their new things with them.
As they drove away in the back of the truck, Lassie turned only once. I
blew her a kiss as I had so many times before. Then tucked under the arm of
the delighted new owner, she rounded the corner. On the light breeze, I
could hear the man laughing, telling Patches that he was a rascal and that
should be his new name. With tears running down my face, I gave thanks that
Lassie could finally go home. The Alaskan wolf dogs next door howled their
sympathy for the loss of my dogs every morning that week. It was a comfort
I could understand.