Monday, September 15, 2008


I'm a "critter" person, always have been. In my ideal world, I would have been born on a farm and heavily involved in 4H. Alas, I was born into a family that was allergic to most all of the animal kingdom. Hence, there were no pets in my childhood, excepting the occasional unfortunate turtle or lizard that happened to wander into our yard. These treasures were lovingly placed in cardboard boxes with dishes of water and whatever delicacies I thought they might enjoy, none of which were included in their proper diets! Eventually, I would realize they were not terribly happy with their circumstances and I would return them to their natural environment.

I read every book Albert Payson Terhune ever wrote and dreamed of my own Sunnybrook Farm. Although I couldn't have a dog of my own, God in His infinite kindness provided me with an "almost" dog of my own. One day when I was about 9, a beautiful golden Cocker Spaniel wandered into my yard. This was in the days when dogs were allowed the run of neighborhoods. When I called, he wandered over and we made friends and a long, intense love affair was begun. Sambo would be at my door every morning before my car pool picked me up for school and was at the end of my driveway every afternoon when I got home. He wasn't allowed in the house, but I spent most every waking minute outside, so that was no problem. We were inseparable. Over time we learned that Sambo belonged to the Linthicums, our neighbors about a block away. He was actually their son's dog, but the son had just left for his freshman year in college and Sambo was lonely. We were a match made in heaven. He spent his days with me and his nights with his "real" Mom and Dad.
On one very special occasion, his owners took a weekend trip and asked if I would like to take care of Sambo while they were gone. Would I!!!!! My parents gave me one of the best presents of my childhood when they agreed to this arrangement and even allowed Sambo to stay in my room. Here's a picture of him sleeping on my bed!

It was one very brokenhearted girl several years later who had to move with her family from our home in Maryland to a new home in New Jersey--without Sambo. The Linthicums told us Sambo sat at the end of our driveway all day for several weeks before he realized I wasn't coming back.

I hope there are dogs in heaven!


Sherry said...

Of course I liked the story, well told, but I can't take my eyes off the human in the picture. It's very fun thinking of you as a young girl. Thanks for the great visual trigger.

Jessica Whitaker said...

I know you don't believe it, but you were such a cute little girl! I'm bummed I couldn't have been your teacher, I'll bet you had a great imagination...not that it's gone yet! :)