In my final single digit year, I got my very own, first puppy dog. I think it was a form of bribe from my then stepfather who was attempting to make amends at Christmas time with my mom.
He took me on a drive that seemed to last forever to a woman's house that was literally crawling with Shetland shelties! It was gated, as it would have to be, and we were greeted by what seemed like hundreds of shelties of all different ages and sizes. They were all friendly and I thought I had died and gone to heaven, doggie heaven that is! I had wanted a puppy of my own since I had known these fun little creatures existed. I don't know my mom's precise reasons for being stuck on that awful word 'no', but I wonder if it had to do with her own dog that had run away. Either way, I was finally getting my wish fulfilled! I left that distant land of shelties with my sweet baby, Ashes. A black, caramel and white miniature sheltie who threw up on me most of our trek home. I didn't even mind, I was so excited about having my very own baby to care for, and I sure got the chance too in the following months.
I don't remember how long we had Ashes before my baby sister had decided to try to carry him down the stairs. She would've been around 3, and when someone asked her to put him down before going downstairs, she did. My poor new puppy fell from the very top of the steep staircase, in my sister's arms, down to the 2nd floor where he lay whimpering and whining in pain by the time I got to the scene of the crime. I don't remember if it was the next day or that night, but we took him as soon as we could to the vets, and I was in tears the entire time thinking he would die. Of course he didn't die, but he did end up with a splint on his leg, and not able to get around on his own for a few weeks. Now the test of my readiness for a pet, could I be responsible enough to care for my injured little puppy? Yes! Of course as much as any child my age could be.
Emptying my dolls from their miniature bassinet, I filled it with soft, plush blankets and placed it right up next to my bed, with my Ashes sleeping awkwardly but comfortably inside it. Rocking it, I sang him songs to help soothe him in his troubled sleep as I wondered if he was having nightmares of my horrible sister who tortured him on the steps.
During the days, when school was my first responsibility, I left him in the care of my grandma while I was at school. She promised to take good care of him in my absence. Still, I rushed home to take over and hand feed him when necessary. I was determined to show my mom I could handle this and we could keep Ashes.
Well eventually we moved to a new house with my stepfather. It had a wonderful big fenced in yard that my sisters and I, as well as Ashes, absolutely loved. Occasionally Ashes liked it less then we thought, as he dug and searched for holes to sneak through, then my mom would have to go driving through the streets, seeking my little escape artist. Then she would come home and patch up his most recent route out. It didn't last long though, before things changed again.
My mom and stepfather decided it wouldn't work. Without my stepfather living with us, my mom couldn't afford to stay in this still-new-to-us house, so we moved into a small 2 bedroom apartment. At first Ashes was good, and we regularly took him for walks when he would sit by the door. But my still young puppy who loved kids, began to sit at our sliding glass door and scratch away the carpet in an effort to show his enthusiasm to go play with the kids outside in the playground about 25 yards away.
One sad day, my mom sat me down on the couch to explain to me why we had to find Ashes a new home. I cried and hugged Ashes as my mom held me. It was a very tough day when we took him to the pound. Since my stepfather had taken me and Ashes on our first trip together, he was the one to take me and Ashes on our last trip together as well. I was so worried they would hurt him there, or that no one would adopt him, but to my surprise our timing was a gift from God. As we approached the desk, there was an older couple there who Ashes immediately began to jump on. They were there to get a dog and fell in love with my boy. So we left them with Ashes and our phone number and a promise from them to let me visit him. But I was familiar by then with broken promises, and somehow I could sense, though Ashes would be happy and loved, I was never going to get that call, and I would never see my first baby Ashes ever again.
This is the 6th in a 15 week series I am doing to record my youth with other woman. Check it out at