A Boy and His Dogs

where_the_red_fern_grows_1996

Have you read Where The Red Fern Grows?

My 4th grade teacher, Mr, Bringolf read it to us in class and I loved it so much I asked for the book for Christmas.  It still has a place of honor on my bookshelf.  It’s funny how a book about a boy and his dogs in the Ozarks during the depression had such great appeal to a girl living in bland white bread suburbia….but the book touched me on so many levels.  I think its one of the greatest love stories ever written, and the very sad ending just added to the depth. It’s so beautifully written, and even at 10 I could recognize how certain words strung together were beautiful in themselves, and the story is about such a simple pure love….the boy for his dogs, the dogs for their boy, and the love the dogs share for each other.
We had a family dog, growing up….our beloved Snoopy, a shaggy black and white mutt.  He was a medium size dog, but considered himself one of us kids and also thought that our laps were the perfect place for him to drape himself.  I have a great picture of my younger brother David, sitting in a recliner chair and overwhelmed by this big grinning creature.  He was so loving and friendly and goofy and was loved just as much right back.
I know families that have dogs that aren’t so well loved…the dogs play a small role and while fed and watered, certainly don’t receive the affection they deserve.  Have you seen that? The dogs are relegated to a mat off in the corner, or spend their days in the garage. I am always so sad for those dogs; you can always see the yearning in their eyes. I don’t understand why you would even have a dog, unless it became a big part of your family.  Why would you not want such love?
In this big ol world, love manifests itself in so many different ways……a boy and his dogs, a girl and her cat, a man and his gerbil, a woman in New Jersey who at this very moment is sipping a tall mocha latte double whip and staring lovingly towards her walk-in closet filled with shoes….
Love is grand….no matter how we find it…and in that pure spirit I wish you a very happy Valentine’s Day.
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