I needed to read this today, to be touched and amused, to remember how much love and tenderness there can be in this world and that one just never knows how one’s heart will be forever affected, whether by a two-legged, or a four-legged, animal.
Only wrapped items, please!
by Sue Robin, Los Angeles, California
This is a tale about a dog who came from Gemco. For any of you Millennials and non-Californians, Gemco was a precursor to Target. One afternoon, Seth and I rode down on our bikes to pick up some odd item there. As we locked our bikes, we noticed a woman sitting with a huge box filled with puppies. My inner child, and my seven-year-old son, had to pet and snuggle them.
Mama was a purebred Great Pyrenees and papa was a neighbor’s German Shepard who had jumped the fence to create these adorable fluff balls. It was love at first sight, but there was a lot to consider. I was in the midst of a divorce and a move would follow quickly thereafter. I needed to make sure I stayed calm and loving for my son as we went through this major transition. In addition, I needed to establish myself in private practice.
I said no. But I also told her I would think about it, gave her my number just in case no one adopted the precious bundle, and tellingly told her to call if no one did. She called, I caved, and she dropped off the puppy that evening.
By bedtime, we were still wondering what to call this little love. I woke with the name Shomrei on my lips. It sounded sort of Hebrew and, when I confirmed that it was a bastardization of “Shomer,” or guardian, in Hebrew, I knew that would be her name. She proved to be an amazing guard dog and loving household member, always waiting at the bottom of the stairs for us when we returned home.
A few months after we moved to Topanga, Shomrei brought me a present. It was not wrapped. It was a beautiful black angora bunny with not a mark on her but, sadly, no longer alive. I was devastated to have to deal with a death of a bunny at that juncture of my life and wept. Our housemate Kirby helped me and Seth bury the bunny and do a little service.
The ground was hard and the grave shallow. Kirby placed a large heavy rock on top to mark the site and keep other creatures from digging it up. Topanga, being rural, meant that any number of neighbors might have had a rabbit hutch. There was a guard goose up the street who would honk if anyone came round that house and God knows what other wonderful creatures were in the neighborhood.
The next night, I was home alone. Seth had gone for his Wednesday night sleepover at his Dad and SMR’s (his pet name for his stepmom) home, and Kirby was out with his girlfriend. Much to my dismay, Shomrei brought me another present. A matching one from the night before. My heart sank.
I cried and screamed at Shomrei that I knew she was only doing what a dog would do, but that she needed to know that we bought our food at the supermarket and that it usually came all wrapped and please, please never ever bring me another bunny! Since Kirby had difficulty digging in the rocky garden, I knew I would not be able to bury this poor bunny. I gently placed her in a paper sack and carried her down to the garbage bin, saying a prayer as I released her.
After my talking to, Shomrei never brought another creature to our door. But in the years that followed she did bring a loaf of bread, a half sack of cat food, a pot with crusty leftovers stuck onto the bottom, and a small white bowl with a bit of food in it. I still have the bowl, and think of Shomrei with love and gratitude whenever I use it.