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The Love of Lady

By Karl Priest May 2, 2014 (revised 8-25-15*)

The love of a lady is a wonderful thing, but it is not the subject of this story.

When I was about five my parents took in a stray dog and named her Lady. She was mixed breed, medium sized, with dark short hair and a patch of white on her chest. She stayed with us for three years and we ran and played together. I loved Lady with the mighty love of a little boy.

We had to leave Lady when we moved to the Orchard Manor housing project that did not allow pets. I cried. When I was older, my parents told me the neighbor who had taken Lady told them that Lady would go to our empty house and wait for us. Finally Lady disappeared. It broke my teenage heart.

After high school I joined the Navy and spent three cold months in boot camp at Great Lakes, Illinois. When I came home, the first of April, I decided to get another dog. We had moved out of the Manor and the landlord granted permission. I went to the animal shelter which was in downtown Charleston. As I walked through the dimly lighted rows of cages before I could see any other dogs, a puppy on the second layer yapped and whimpered at me. She was small, black, and short-haired. It was love at first sight.

Lady and I spent many hours playing and walking together. She brought endless laughs and bountiful  happiness to my life.

It wasn’t long until I had to leave for Navy duty. Coming home on leave was always wonderful and the joy was multiplied by the greeting given by my little Lady. Her entire body would wiggle due to the force of her wagging tale. In her doggy way, she cried with happiness. She loved my parents, but it was I who had her heart.

Finally, the time came for my discharge from active duty. I shipped my sea bag home early so I would not have to bother with it on the flight home. Lady immediately picked up my scent. My parents emptied it out and lady slept on it every night.

Lady readily accepted the woman I married and remained in my life through the birth of our first child. Finally the problems of old age caught up with my Lady. She reached a point where it was time to say good-bye. Her last night of life was spent confined to a linoleum kitchen floor because of her incontinence. I was on the floor with her all night before going to work. Thankfully, my father took Lady on her last ride.

The Bible provides comfort for Christians who love their pets. God knew Lady. “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.” (Psalms 50:10-11) Heaven will be wonderful, but seeing Lady again would surely be even better. “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (I Corinthians 2:7-9)

The love of Lady can be forever.

*Two sentences added 8-25-15 begin with “Her last night..."

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Published in the Charleston GazetteEssays on Faith” on 5-31-15.

Also see “Boot Camp Blizzard”.

LEGACY INDEX