This page will present some extras for animal lovers.
The first is a belated Christmas story showing the healing touch of a chocolate lab.

Part Three

"Let's call the woman back who has the four-and-a-half-year old chocolate female lab," I had suggested, "and let's ask her to give us a few times she will be available to let us come and see the dog."

"Sure, Grandma," he answered, "but could we get the rugs first?"

"Why not?" I answered. "We're near Lowe's and that should be an easy task." So we found rugs which were a palette of colors to match the earthy tones of their kitchen, purchased them and tossed them into the back seat of the car.

We had just tossed the rugs into the back seat when the phone rang. I answered. It was George.

"Mom," he said simply, "I just can't have a dog now."

Eric saw my face. I was about to come back with a kid reply such as "But you promised! You can't go back on your promise."

But Eric was gesturing for the phone and I handed it to him instead of replying.

"Dad," he began. "This really seems to be a nice dog, and Dad, I think you would like to have her."

He spoke a few minutes to his Dad in a very calm and rational voice, never once accusing or reminding Geroge of the broken promise. George must have brought up the unfortunate episode of the dog at the veterinary clinic which had thoroughly shaken them all.

Eric said "It really would be good for you to have this dog, Dad. It will help all of us get beyond that experience at the veterinarian's with the other dog that you picked from the shelter."

George must have been digging in his heels and I waws foreseeing a shopping tour for all wool socks when Eric pulled the bunny out of the hat: "DAD," he said, "we already bought the rugs!" So… we got George's o.k. The rug purchase did it! Just imagine if we had put off the rug purchase until later! You hear it everywhere and now I see that it must be true. "Timing is everything!"

So the day before Christmas last year George and I and Eric went to see (translated "buy") Chiara. There is a myth out there that you can look at a dog and not bring it home. But those people must have tough genes. descendants surely of the Goths and the Visigoths. No one I ever met has succeeded in not taking a warm, anxious, liquid-tongued creature home in the backseat of his car once she has nosed up and licked is hand.

Chiara had been living on a large lot with many other Labradors. She had an outside run and had mothered forty pups at the ripe old age of four and a half. She is a beaurtiful dog. Her progeny have grown on to be guide dogs and therapy dogs, a tribute to her disposition. However, her life story is also told in the scars on her face and the chip from her ear where she had obviously been attacked at one time. One feels sorry for her as one views her small front teeth, so worn down, making one believe that her pups may have been taken from her too early, thus causing her to try to chew her way out of her cage to get to them.

But Chiara is happy now. She doesn't chase the cat. In face the cat lies in wait behind the barberry bush to pounce on her. She has been spayed. She has a big fenced-in back yard. Although originally banned from the house at night, she now has the run of the house and can be close to the humans who own her. She's there to help rescue them with her absolute love.

Eric has gone on to North Central, a high school with an unbelievable music program, and George takes Chiara for walks when his schedule and the weather permits. The other two grandchildren praise Chiara as a sweet dog. It's true it would be hard to find anything wrong with her. Grandma and Grandpa occasionally dog-sit their home and get to share the warmth.

And the rugs at the door?

They are wearing out again but nobody seems to care. Isn't that what rugs are supposed to do?

*Chiara is Italian for Clare.