Sparky & Maggie

I have two stories wrapped in one. When I was 14, we took a dog my grandparents owned home. He was a German Shepherd mix named Sparky. He was old already, about 14 years old at the time, and no one wanted him so my sister and I wanted to take him home. My parents couldn’t turn him away and so they agreed with my grandparents that we will build a fence before they moved to the city and we will take him. Two weeks later, the fence is built and we took Sparky to our home. My sister had grown attached to him. I remember her sitting on the back porch with Sparky and she would read to him. Unfortunately, he only lived for three more months. Sparky already had arthritis in his hips that was getting bad and then we found out that he had cancer. My parents couldn’t let him suffer so they had our vet put him down. My sister and I were upset but I realize now that it wouldn’t have been fair if we kept him alive. Our vet felt our pain and he told us that he had a few stray dogs that stay at the clinic and they let us take a look at them. We fell in love with a black lab they had and so we took her home. We named her Maggie and she was about four at that time. She was wonderful but she was definately a hunting dog. Every now and then I would find a dead rabbit or bird in the yard. Maggie kept the rabbits and the squirrels out of the yard, which was a blessing considering they would get in our garden and eat everything. Then she started to get old when I was about 20. We took Maggie to get a bath one day at the vet clinic and the vet that bathed her noticed that she had a lump on her side. So she called us and said that she is going to keep Maggie over night to make sure it’s not cancer. The test results revealed that it wasn’t cancer, just an over growth of liver cells. My parents gave the vet permission to remove the lump. The surgery went okay, but Maggie didn’t live through the night. It never gets easier to loose a pet but the Lord does give us the strength to endure it. Now my family and I got another German Shepherd mix named Carleigh. She’s young now but I know she will get old one day. All I can do now is enjoy the short time I have with her.

— Kara from Huntsville, AL