A few months ago, there appeared in our yard a new stray dog, the most recent of a long line of strays. Neither Larry nor I could ever adhere to the policy of “don’t feed him and he’ll go away.” We can’t bear to see an animal hungry. We fed him, and he stayed. In the meantime, we tried really hard to find him a home. I tried to give him to all my students, and several wanted him. Getting all those unreasonable parents to agree was the problem. In the meantime he frolicked with Bentley and played with the cats. He grew round and healthy.
One day I came in from school and Larry said, “I started calling him Roscoe. Look at him. He looks like a Roscoe, don’t you think? That dog’s been around here long enough that he needs a name.”
“No, Larry,” I responded. “If you give him a name, he’ll be our dog. We agreed we couldn’t take any more animals.”
“Well, what do you propose that we do with him?” he asked.
“I don’t know. I guess I’ll try again at school.”
Roscoe—uh, I mean the stray dog was a really pretty dog, about forty pounds with a white and black coat. The Orkin man told us he looked like a Blue Heeler mix. A bit skittish with us at first, the dog soon overcame that and chased Bentley as he chased the tennis ball. He’d lick our hands and demand attention. We took some pictures of him, and I sent them out to my colleagues at school. One teacher’s brother wanted Roscoe; his wife said no. A teacher friend wanted him; her husband said no. I was nearing the end of my leash.
Then providence intervened and helped me find Roscoe’s family. On Saturday night of Walk Through Bethlehem, I sat praying in the synagogue. As we waited for tour groups to appear, we started telling dog stories and grew nostalgic. Larry and I have been blessed with some wonderful animals throughout our lives. We still have some, too many as a matter of fact, I quickly reminded myself.
Standing there in his rabbi attire, Mark looked wistful. “We don’t have a dog right now,” he said. “We’ve been talking about getting one. We miss not having one around.”
“Mark, I think I have your dog,” I told him. “Talk to Pat. I’ll bring you a picture tomorrow night.”
During the Christmas holidays, they brought the grandchildren and collected Roscoe. The children were ecstatic, and before they pulled out of the driveway, Woscoe (Little Ben couldn’t handle the r too well) was in the seat with the children. In case anyone has any doubt at all, the dog’s full name is Woscoe P. Coltrain.
“A match made in heaven,” I thought.
We’ve missed Roscoe, and our grandchildren were perturbed when they found out we’d given him away. They see no reason at all why we can’t have more animals.
Today was the first chance I’ve had to talk to Mark since Roscoe changed homes. The move was a good one, and Roscoe is doing well with his new family. He sometimes moves Mark’s yard shoes about and might have chewed a slipper or two, but all is well. Thank goodness, all is well.
Now if anyone out there needs a cat, let me tell you about this beautiful long-haired female kitten we just happen to have. A stray, of course. In need of a good home, of course. We’re taking care of her until her owner shows up. She’ll be a lovely companion for some child, or some cat-loving adult. If you think she might be your cat, please contact me. We’re waiting as patiently as possible, but don’t wait too long. She already has a name. Larry calls her Boots.