Early this past spring, someone left a puppy inside the back gate of our house. I fell in love with that tiny beagle. But, my folks said I couldn’t keep the puppy- something about it being too expensive to keep and how it would need so much care.
“I’m really sorry,” my Mom said.
But then, my little brother Timmy grabbed onto that puppy and held it so close we couldn’t have gotten ahold of it even if we tried. It came as close to a hug as it could. Both my parents cried. You see, Timmy doesn’t hug. Not even our Mom. They gave in; the puppy became Timmy’s. Probably because Timmy is different than other kids, that’s what I believe.
You see, Timmy is in 1st grade and has to go to a special class; he doesn’t talk and usually just sits on the floor and moves back and forth like he’s rocking in a chair. Sometimes he throws stuff, screams for what seems like hours, and even bites.
Well, anyway, we named the puppy “Timmy’s Dog.” He slept with Timmy and stayed right beside him all that weekend. It seemed like the puppy knew Timmy was different, and needed to be protected.
“Would you be willing to feed and walk ‘Timmy’s dog’”, Mom asked me. “It would help me, taking care of Timmy and all.”
“Sure, Mom,” I said. After all, somebody had to do it; Timmy sure couldn’t. And, even though I had wanted the dog for myself, I was glad Timmy got to keep him.
So, I wrote it all out. While Timmy ate, I would feed the puppy. Since I rode my bike to school, I‘d walk the dog after Timmy left in the morning, would come home for lunch and walk him again. Then, I’d walk him after supper and once more before bedtime; sounded simple enough to me.
But, Timmy had other ideas. In the morning, he’d refuse to eat his breakfast, screamed when it came time to leave his puppy and go to school. He’d miss the bus and scream all the way when Mom would have to drive him there. Soon after Mom got back home, she’d get a call saying they weren’t able to calm Timmy down; that he would not stop screaming and she needed to pick him up from school.
Soon, Timmy refused to get out of bed in the morning, screaming and latching tightly onto the puppy. I heard my parents talking about it, wondering what they could do to fix things for Timmy. Mom and Dad went to school to talk with the principal to see if Timmy could bring the puppy to school with him. As they told me later, the principal said that since there was just a few weeks until summer vacation that if they got a letter from Timmy’s doctor, saying the puppy was needed as a companion dog for him because he was “different”, that he could bring his puppy to school. Also, they needed a copy of the record showing the puppy’s shots were up to date. The puppy couldn’t ride the bus and if he wasn’t friendly with the other kids, he couldn’t stay at school. The principal said he would tell all of this to Timmy’s teacher.
Mom and Dad asked if I could walk with Timmy and the puppy in the morning after breakfast. Then, Mom would drive Timmy and the puppy to school. Mom would pick Timmy and the puppy up at lunchtime, bring them home to eat, and she would walk with Timmy and the dog before she drove them back to school. Mom would pick them up after school and I was asked to walk with Timmy and the puppy when I got home from school. Then, Mom, Dad, or I would walk with them after supper and again before bedtime.
This plan worked well; Timmy stopped his screaming and he and the puppy were always together. In no time at all, summer vacation started. Timmy was soon feeding and watering his pup without any reminders. We all took turns walking with Timmy and the puppy. Soon, we saw that Timmy could safely walk his puppy around our short block and was able to go alone. He always made sure he carried plastic bags for any clean-ups. He became a very responsible dog owner.
So, it was all a shock that day when the policeman knocked on our door to tell us that Timmy had wandered to the village pool, slipped in, and had drowned. He said the lifeguard had tried to give him CPR but it was of no use. The officer handed over Timmy’s dog, his hair glistening with water.
Though it’s been a year since his death, things never got back to normal at our house. We are all just so sad. And, I can’t stop thinking that people using the pool might not even know that his brother had drowned there one day last summer.
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