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Hope - A Will Starr Short Story

Updated on April 11, 2015
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Hope



“Damn!”

Maude Silvers looked up at her husband anxiously. In their twenty seven years of marriage, she had only heard him swear once, and that was when the second plane slammed into the World Trade Center.

He was gazing intently out the window .

“Damn a man who’ll do that!” Tom Silvers grabbed his coat and ran out the kitchen door. “Someone just dumped a dog, Maudie!”

As a girl, she’d always hated the name ‘Maude’, and she hated it even more when someone called her ‘Maudie’, but when her best friend introduced her to Tom Silvers all those years ago, and he replied, “Hi-ya, Maudie!” with his dazzling smile, it became the most beautiful sound in the world. Tom Silvers could pour more love into her nickname than a Robert Browning poem.

Maude rose quickly from the breakfast table and ran to the window, just in time to see the dust of a car disappearing down the narrow country road. The thermometer attached to the window casing read in the low twenties, and there were a few flakes of snow lazily drifting down. The forecast was for up to two feet by tomorrow morning. It was a typical Wyoming winter.

Tom was standing in the road looking off to the south, but Maude saw no dog. Finally, Tom headed back to the house.

“It ran off into the fields behind the barn. It looked like maybe a female border collie mix, but in awful shape. Just skin and bones, poor thing.”

Tom took off his hat and absent-mindedly ran his fingers through his shock of graying hair.

“I’ll put some food out in the barn, Maudie. Maybe she’ll smell it and take shelter there.”

She was sick, cold, and scared. The only man she had ever known was gone, and so was the space under the porch where she had her litters and hungrily ate the rotten scraps the man occasionally tossed to her. Now even that was gone, and she was in a strange place.

The man who came out of the house was a stranger but he was still a man, so she ran into the field and hid in the tall grass. Men meant a beating, and she did not want another beating.

She was desperately hungry despite her sickness, so when she smelled food after the sun went down, her ears perked up. The odor was mixed with the scent of ranch animals, but there was no fresh man scent, so she decided to take the risk. Painfully, she came to her feet and headed to the dim shadow of the barn in the darkness.

The food was good and far better than anything she had ever eaten in her four short years, but she was far too sick to eat much of it. Beside the food was a pan of clean water, and she lapped at it thirstily. Then she curled up on the straw and fell into a deep, exhausted sleep.

“Good Lord! You poor little thing. What have they done to you?”

At the sound of the man’s voice, she tried to get up and run away, but her legs were too weak, so she just gave up and waited for her beating. When the man’s hand came close to her head, she tried to raise it and growl a warning, but to her shock, his hand offered her a small piece of meat. But she was too sick to take it, so her head settled back on the straw.

Then she felt something she had never known. The man’s hand was gently stroking her head. She stiffened at first, but then relaxed and allowed him to continue. At the same time, his deep and gentle voice somehow assured her that she was safe, although she recognized none of the strange words.

She felt a strap being placed around her neck, and fastened, but she did not resist because she had worn such a strap all her life. But the man who beat her took it off before he drove away.

The new man slid his hands under her body and gently lifted her. She did not resist, although it pained her. He placed her in a strange box on a soft, clean blanket, and shut the door to the box. Then he placed the box on the floor of his warm, idling pickup truck and left. Outside, the snow whispered against the windows, and she slept.

“I got her Maudie, and she’s in an awful shape. She’s just skin and bones, and she’s dripping some sort of fluid out from under her tail. I’ve put her in the truck, and I’m taking her in to Doc Pritchard.”

Maude nodded. “Maybe it would be best to just put her down, Tom. No sense in letting her suffer.”

“We’ll see. As bad as she looks, I don’t think she’s an old dog. I’d guess no more than five years, if that.”

She was frightened. The last time she was taken for a ride, she was abandoned, so although this man was gentle, she was afraid that she would once again be rejected. She was also so sick she felt like giving up. But at least she was warm in the snug cabin of the gently swaying truck. The man was making a soothing noise, but she had never heard singing before. She waited

There were two Doc Pritchard’s in town. One was old Doc Ray Pritchard, the general practitioner. The other was his daughter-in-law, Doctor Janice Pritchard, DVM. The result was confusion among the various patients seeking treatment, a situation that both doctors enjoyed immensely.

The ranchers and farmers were skeptical at first that a female vet could handle their big animals like horses and cattle, but Doc Pritchard knew her stuff, so she soon earned their respect and then some.

“She’s a border collie mix, Tom, and she’s had more than one litter, poor thing. Her uterus is badly infected, and needs to come out. I’m guessing that someone used her as a breeder, probably claiming the pups were purebreds.”

Her hands gently pushed and probed.

“She’s taken more than one beating, and bad ones at that. I can feel some healed ribs.”

She petted the dog’s head and wiped her damp brow with the back of her arm.

“Cold logic says she should be put down, Tom. On top of the beatings and who knows how many litters, she has been starved almost to the point of death. In fact, that alone may kill her. But it’s your call.”

Tom Silvers did not hesitate.

“You do whatever you can to save her, Doc. Let’s at least give her a fair shot. It looks she’s never had one.” His voice was firm and determined.

Janice Pritchard nodded at the tall rancher and patted his arm.

“I'll do my best, Tom. I hope she makes it too. Have you given her a name, yet?”

“You just did.”

At the doctor’s puzzled frown, Tom grinned.

“You said you hope she’s makes it, so let’s call her Hope”.

While Doc Pritchard made the arrangements, Tom bent over the small frightened dog, and spoke to her in soothing tones.

“You work on getting well, Hope, and I’ll take care of the rest. We lost our Randy last year, and I just haven’t had the heart to get another dog, but here you are and here you’ll stay.”

She didn’t know why she was no longer scared, but she wasn’t. Maybe it was the way the man murmured softly before he left. Maybe it was the gentle hands of the woman, putting a tube in her leg, and pricking her with antibiotics. Yes, there was some pain, but it was not delivered with angry shouts. She could sense that it was due to an act of love and compassion, so she endured it silently.

Later, she went into a deep, dreamless sleep, and when she woke, her belly hurt strangely and she had something around her neck which prevented her from licking herself, but she didn’t feel so sick anymore. The next day, she felt truly hungry for the first time in weeks, and she was given small bites throughout the day.

“She’s tough, I’ll say that. Frankly, I didn’t think she would make it, but she fooled all of us. We hydrated and stabilized her, and then took out her female organs. I’m amazed at her recovery in just two weeks. Are you ready to see her? She’s in the exercise yard.”

Tom and Maude Silvers followed Doc Pritchard outside, where several dogs were playing, but he did not see Hope. He turned to Janice Pritchard.

“Where is she?”

“She’s right there looking at you.”

The transformation was astounding. Her filthy coat had been shampooed, and her ribs were no longer showing. She was watching Tom intently.

She was uncertain. She thought she heard her new man’s voice but with the breeze blowing the wrong way, she could not detect his scent. She saw a man standing there, but she was not sure he was the one. They all look alike until they become familiar.

Most of the pain was gone, and she was no longer sick. The rest of the pack accepted her once she submitted to the leader. She was at peace, but she remembered the gentle man and his kind voice. She sensed that he wanted her, so was in her nature to want to be with him.

She saw the man kneel in the grass and hold his arms out to her, but still she hesitated. Then he spoke softly to her and she abandoned all doubts. It was the right voice. It was him, and her heart soared as she ran to him.

“What’s wrong with her Tom?”

Hope refused to step through the kitchen door, and resisted Tom’s gentle pull on her leash. Finally he picked her up and carried her to her place in the corner. She looked wildly about, and began shaking, so Tom sat on the floor and stroked her, all the while talking to her in his easy, soothing way. Finally, she circled the folded blanket placed there for her, and plopped down. Then she licked Tom’s hand, and relaxed.

Tom glanced up at Maude.

“She probably was not allowed to come in the house by her former owner. I'm guessing she got a beating when she tried.”

Tom rose and retrieved Randy’s old water and food dishes from the closet, placing them near Hope. Randy was fourteen when he died, and Tom missed him terribly. Randy was always by his side when he saddled up and rode out to check the stock and fences. They were friends the way only a man and his dog can be friends.

She had only been inside a man’s house once before, and the man had almost beaten her to death for her trespass. She thought he was gone, and she was desperately trying to steal some food from the garbage in the wastebasket, when he caught her. After that, she was terrified of going inside a house.

Now she was warm and comfortable, nesting on a soft bed with her belly full of delicious food. Her pains were almost gone now, and for the first time in her short life, she was content and happy.

She watched the man and his woman as they went about their mysterious human business, and gradually, her eyes grew heavy. Finally, she dozed off.

Tom Silvers accepted the lunch from Maude and put it in his saddle bags. He also had a small bag of Hope’s dog food, should she decide to go with him this time. Six months after he took her to Doc Pritchard, she was completely healed, but sometimes, she seemed oddly reluctant to follow him. He kissed Maude and mounted Mike, his big gelding.

Tom glanced back at Hope sitting on the porch, and called to her. Her ears perked up, but as always, she did not come to him once he was astride a horse. He shrugged his shoulders and set off at a slow walk.

She was afraid of the big animal he was on. One had kicked her as a pup, so she was wary. But her man had called her, and as always, she wanted desperately to go with him. Finally, her desire to be with the man overcame her fear, and she dashed off the porch and ran to catch up with him. The woman made a pleasant sound as she ran by her. She didn't know what human laughter was, but she knew she liked it when they did it.

The man and the big animal were just a dot in the distance when she finally made up her mind, but she could run like the wind, and soon, she was beside Tom and his horse, panting a little, but happy. She was with her man. He looked down at her and smiled. He told her she was a good dog, and although she did not understand the soft words, she still knew what he meant.

Old Randy loved to go on these rides, and he kept out of the way as Tom cut out the cattle he wanted, but Tom wasn’t sure how Hope would react. If she took to chasing the steers for fun, he would have to ride back home and come back without her. Then he spotted one of those he wanted to cull out, and he went to work.

She watched curiously as the man on the horse began to cut one of the steers out of the small group, but it kept dodging and heading back. Suddenly, her breeding kicked in, and she instinctively realized what her man was trying to do. Joyously, she ran to the errant steer and soon had it headed in the direction her man seemed to want it to go.

Tom was dumbfounded. At first Hope simply watched him curiously, but then she seemed to grasp what he was doing, and she was everywhere, keeping the steer moving in the right direction. Soon, he added another and then another, but it didn't seem to confuse Hope, who happily kept them all together and moving. By the time noon rolled around, he had twenty steers and Hope seemed to be able to herd them with ease.

He stopped for lunch, wondering what Hope would do. To his amazement, she kept them in a tight bunch, lying in the grass when they stayed put, and dashing off if one dared try to leave. He brought her some food, but she ignored it. She was working. She would eat later.

She had never been happier. She and her man brought the steers all the way back home and into the corral. Then he got off the horse and picked her up in his arms, ruffling her fur and telling her ‘Good dog!’, a phrase that she realized meant he was pleased with her. She licked his face in a dog's expression of love.

She was famished by the long day and by her own self denial of food while working, so she gulped down the offered dish and plopped down on her blanket, listening to the man talking enthusiastically to his woman.

“You should have seen her Maudie! After a few minutes of watching me, she just jumped right in there like she’d done it all her life, but I’d wager that she’s never herded in her life! She’s a natural, and I’m blessed to have her!

Maudie smiled at her man. “Sometimes, I think you love that dog more than me, Tom Silvers!”

Tom grinned at his wife. “Well, she can’t cook, and she was never a homecoming queen, so I’d say your place in my heart is secure, Maudie Silvers.” He gently picked up her hand and kissed the back of it, with a familiar promise in his eyes. It was going to be a good night.

She saw the car pull up outside the barn and she was instantly alert. Her man was working with a grinder, noisily sharpening some tools, so he was not aware of the big stranger who opened the door and got out, looking all around. Suddenly, the fur on the back of her neck stood up as she recognized his hated man scent. It was him, the man who beat her. For a moment, she was terrified, but that quickly gave way to a burning hatred and anger. Her lips rolled back, exposing her fangs, and she growled menacingly.

The moving shadow on the wall alerted Tom Silvers, so he shut off the grinder and turned around. He didn't know the stranger now standing in his barn, but it was obvious that Hope did not like him at all. He spoke to her quietly, but for the first time, she ignored him and kept up her low and menacing growl.

“See you found my pup. I seen her a week or so back when I went by the place, so I come back to fetch her up and take her home.”

Tom Silvers stared at him. “You dumped her off to die and now you want her back?”

The stranger grinned without humor. “You say I dumped her, and I say she run off. She’s my breed dog, and I mean to have her back.”

Tom took a step forward.

“She’s been spayed, so she’s no longer of any use to you. You mistreated her, so you just climb back in your car and get off my land. Be quick about it.”

The big man's grin turned into a sneer. He was used to menacing men smaller than himself.

“Hell if I will! I’m taking my pup!” He bent to pick up Hope, and she sank her teeth deep into his hand. He jerked it back and stared at the blood. Then he pulled back his leg to kick her and Tom Silvers hit him in the mouth with his big, work-hardened hand. The stranger went down, out cold.

When he regained consciousness, he was back in his car, and his hand was still bleeding freely. He was also missing two teeth, and two more were barely hanging on. Tom Silvers was staring at him through the driver’s window.

“Like I said, you get on down the road and don’t you ever come back. If I ever see you again around my ranch, I’ll fetch my rifle and we’ll find a pleasant spot to plant you, because we have all kinds of room out here.”

To Tom's astonishment, the big man began to weep and then whine.

“You assaulted me, and that dog bit me. I’m going to find the Sheriff and press charges.”

Tom Silvers grinned at him. “You go right ahead. If you do, I’ll be pressing trespassing charges plus animal abandonment and cruelty.”

“We’ll see what the Sheriff has to say about that.”

“You do that mister, and while you’re at it, you tell him Tom said ‘Howdy’.”

“He knows you?”

“You could say that. He’s my brother.”

She did not understand the ways of man, but she understood the ways of the pack, and her man was the leader of the pack. She knew instinctively that the man who beat her was gone forever, and she nestled deeper into her blankets. She could hear the murmurs of her man and his woman as she drifted off to a peaceful sleep. Her legs moved slightly as she dreamed happy dreams of herding her man’s cattle.

....




My good friend Mike Blue made an excellent suggestion in the comment section, so I'm reposting it here:

I would like to remind all of your loyal fans that there is a "Hope" dog available for adoption at most every animal shelter in the country.

If they have room in their hearts and their homes for one of these unfortunate animals they will never regret adopting.

I have three rescue dogs and I swear that somehow they know they were spared from death. They will be the most loyal friends you have ever had.

....

I agree wholeheartedly, Mike! We need to empty the shelters and fill our hearts with these loving animals! Thanks for that superb comment!


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    • klidstone1970 profile image

      இڿڰۣ-- кιмвєяℓєу 2 years ago from Niagara Region, Canada

      A beautiful tale of compassion and trust. This is wonderfully told, but your stories always are.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Will Starr - you just have a way of writing the best stories and touching hearts. Beautiful story that leaves such a good feeling within me. There really are people like Tom Silvers around and that makes the world so much better.

      Thank you for sharing this endearing story about Hope.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 2 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Great story Bill. I thought about our dog when I read this. She had been found bya rescue group tied outside and very starved. We could see her backbone she was so starved. We were told that when they took her from where she was tied that her collar had been mbeded. She still flinches when even I pet her.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 2 years ago

      WillStarr - This story has got to be one of your finest yet. It seems your cruise gave you some inspiration, and I love dog stories.

      Welcome home my friend.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Will this is a masterful tale full of the heart touching warmth that has become so rare. I did some voting above, and shared on Twitter.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      What a beautiful story, Will. You touched on humanity and how wicked some people are. In the end, humanity wins. At least I'd like to think so.

      Thank goodness Tom went to bat for Hope!

      It just goes to show that lives can be turned around with love, compassion, and understanding.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww, Will, show me a person who doesn't love this story, and I'll show you a person with a heart of stone. Well done, young man. I thoroughly enjoyed your story of Hope.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 2 years ago from UK and Mexico

      "The hills are alive...with the sound of sobbing!"

      You did it again, Will, and really pushed my sentimental buttons. Excellent story and glad to see the piece of pond slime getting his cumuppance at the end

      I love Border Collies, so bright and loyal

      Well done!! Bob

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Oh Will, this is such a beautiful story. The way you had Hope talk brought her into my heart and I could see her. You made my day with your story of love and compassion..

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 2 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Beautiful story Will. Told like you have lived it recently.

      I have rescued more than a few of these drop-offs. I have one now and she sticks close to my husband. He spoils her rotten and she gets a quarter of his food. She is fattened up nicely now and we no longer feel her ribs. She was not sick, just neglected. She was afraid to let someone reach out to her for quite a while and you need to coax her still. I think they called her to them and punished her.

      She is a sucker for any kind of attention and will bark in an extremely high pitched voice until she gets it. The other dogs guard the 4 lb. lion from the effects of her mouthy attacks on the wildlife. The birds have attacked her because she gets too noisy. Cats have stalked her because they think she is a good size for a snack. She is quite a character and very funny and loving.

    • pennyofheaven profile image

      pennyofheaven 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Oh my goodness, this made me very tearful. It is a beautifullly intense and loving story. Very awesome. Thank you

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Will, I've been wanting another dog for quite some time. It still isn't quite time even yet. But this is the kind of dog I've decided on, a border collie mix. Tom is a man's man and Maude is lucky to have him. Of course it seems she was quite a good catch too. Love this story as I have all of your stories I have read.

    • FitnezzJim profile image

      FitnezzJim 2 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

      Will, you never cease to amaze us with your great stories. We are glad of that. Well done, up, awesome and all the good stuff.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Aw, a beautifully written dog tale always touches the heart. Hard to hold back the tears on this one. When people stand up and do something because it is the right thing to do, the world is a little better each time.

      Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, g+ and sharing

      Blessings

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 2 years ago from Florida

      I love a story with a happy ending! I'm so happy you ended this story the way you did. I was so afraid the bad guy was going to get that poor dog back. I would have been very upset if he had.

      I voted UP, etc. and will certainly share.

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 2 years ago

      Mighty fine story, Will.

      But, I have to admit that I had to skip over the hurting parts.

      I'm a dog lover. I would cry when Lassie got into a jam - really didn't care much what happened to Timmy. I knew he would always be all right. But, Lassie could not talk and I just felt so sad for him.

      Even after skipping the bad parts, I enjoyed the good parts and loved the happy ending of your story.

      I had a part Border Collie and he was incredibly intelligent.

      Nice story, Will.

      DJ.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Austinstar 2 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Anyone cruel to a helpless dog deserves what he gets. Beautiful story, Will. I miss my Border Collie. She was an awesome dog! But so were all of the dogs I've had. Thanks for the reminder of how much a dog can love and be loved.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Kimberly!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Phyllis, and thank you for those kind words. There are lots of Tom Silvers in the world.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you Don. It takes a lot of patience to win over an abused dog and earn its trust. If your dog is afraid of your hand yet trusts you to pet her anyway, the battle is mostly won.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Mike! The cruise was superb, and we had a great time. I posted lots of pics on Facebook.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you Mike for your kind words and for promoting this one!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      It is all about HOPE isn't it? (Many times I have written of Hope....)

      What a lovely tale you told...goodness and HOPE ..a combination that will win every single time .

      Voted up ++++ and shared.

      Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Shauna,

      The most abused dogs I ever saw belonged to a woman who hoarded them. They were starved so badly that most had to be put down. She also had horses, cats, and ferrets, all starving and neglected. She saw herself as an animal lover and didn't seem to understand what she had done. That's common among hoarders.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Bill!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Bob!

      I'm always amazed at those who would hurt man's best friend. What are they thinking? BTW, most serial killers began with abusing animals.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Ruby,

      Writing a story from two very different points of view (humans vs dogs) was something I always wanted to try. I'm glad you approve!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Becky!

      When I lived on a Kentucky farm, a little Chihuahua mix showed up at my door one day. She had obviously just had a litter, but I never found her owner. She was probably abandoned.

      I took her in of course, and just hours later, there she was, happily nursing a couple of kittens from a litter produced by an abandoned cat I also took in. I wish I still had those pictures!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Penny, and welcome to Will Starr World!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Chris!

      You can't go wrong with a border collie. They are the smartest of dogs, but they like to stay busy.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Jim!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Theresa!

      Most people quietly do the right thing just because it is the right thing. It happens every day.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Mary!

      Not all stories end the way we want, but there was no way Hope was going back to her abuser.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, DJ!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Lela,

      We just went on an 8 day cruise, so my son came over to babysit our home and Lily, our 3 pound Chihuahua. When we got home, I expected Lily to be excited, but nothing like we got. Apparently, she thought we were gone forever, and she literally cried when we came back, including tears! That went on for almost five minutes before she finally settled down. I wish we had recorded it.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Patricia, and thank you for the kind words and the share! Have a great day!

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 2 years ago

      WillStarr - This is off topic and I hope you don't mind. I would like to remind all of your loyal fans that there is a "Hope" dog available for adoption at most every animal shelter in the country.

      If they have room in their hearts and their homes for one of these unfortunate animals they will never regret adopting.

      I have three rescue dogs and I swear that somehow they know they were spared from death. They will be the most loyal friends you have ever had.

    • WillStarr profile image
      Author

      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      That was exactly on topic, Mike and thank you for pointing it out! In fact, I'm going to put that at the bottom of my story!

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 2 years ago

      Thanks Bill, I appreciate that.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      We have been toying with the idea of a small shelter dog to keep our Chihuahua Lily company. In light of what you pointed out, I'm going to take Carolyn down to the shelter soon.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 2 years ago

      That is great Bill. You should have no problem finding the perfect companion for Lily. Dogs are pack animals and really don't like to be alone.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Austinstar 2 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      One of the best things about going on a vacation is coming home to the pets and humans that love you! Bob wonders why people ever go on vacation at all. He says our home is almost perfect, why leave? I miss my doggies. We lost Baby and Patches last summer and although it's been more peaceful around here, there is a big chunk of love missing.

    • profile image

      Ghaelach 2 years ago

      Good day Will.

      Don't know if I got a massage about this latest hub of yours, but I've just spotted it. A sad story that happens far to often. But I'm pleased that this story had a happy ending. Unfortunately the same thing happens over here as well, but mainly in the lands boardering the Mediterranean Sea.

      I have just published a new hub with over 3000+ words and was a bit worried about it's length. But after read this 3000+ hub, I'm a little more at ease.

      Have a great week Will.

      Jimmy.................aka Ghaelach

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      This is a great story with an ending that is happy. I am already in love with Hope! Voted up, beautiful and awesome.

    • Ginn Navarre profile image

      Ginn Navarre 2 years ago

      When I was born 83 years ago, a puppy was placed in my crib as my gift that gave the true meaning of LOYALTY . Since then I have never been without the love and the loyalty of these great friends. Three times--they have been responsible for saving my life and they all came from local shelters.

      Another great story ---my dear friend.

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 2 years ago from Los Angeles

      Superb, Will! Our dog of 11 years had been abandoned and was found cowering under a bush in flash flood and torrential rains. She too cowered near the kitchen. Only a writer with a compassionate heart could write such a touching story. Thank you!

      Cat:)

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      You had me at the picture. That pup could be my Bandit or one of Joe P. 's pups. No reason to ever treat a dog or a person with anything less than kindness. Voted up, skip funny, and up some more.

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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Bob has a point, Lela!

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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I'll take a look at your new one, Jimmy!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I'll take a look at your new one, Jimmy!

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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Patti!

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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      So you literally grew up with your puppy? What a great story, Ginn!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you for the kind words, Cat!

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      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Shared on my facebook page for freelance writers

      https://www.facebook.com/cam8510?ref=hl

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Judy!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Wow! Thanks Chris!

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      sandybrownpop 2 years ago from peshawar

      Awesome pic....

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Awesome story!!! Very interesting and loving. You portrayed how beautiful and generous the relationships can be between a man and his animals and how they bring happiness and satisfaction to both.

      Thanks for sharing such a beautiful story. Voted up and awesome.

    • carrie Lee Night profile image

      Kept private 2 years ago from Northeast United States

      A truely great story. I loved how you used the dog's perception and emotions to help tell the story :) Once again amazing heart felt writing :) Thank you for sharing ! :)

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Sandy!

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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Venkatachari M!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Carrie!

      It was my first attempt to view the world through the eyes of an animal, so I'm pleased that so many of you seemed to like my interpretation.

    • nanderson500 profile image

      nanderson500 2 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Rescue dogs are an excellent subject for a story. Great job!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Nick.

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 2 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Beautiful story. We used to have a collie dog like that, though she wasn't a working dog but she still had the instinct!

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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you Meg! They are so smart and loyal.

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      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      Will, your story made my day! I have a shelter dog--she is 12 now, and I treasure her--

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image

      Marilyn L Davis 2 years ago from Georgia

      Good afternoon, Will; there's much truth in this story. I rescued my dog 15 years ago from a big box store parking lot. Just this frightened ball of fur; dodging cars and carts.

      I had never had a dog, and at fifty-two wasn't looking to get one. I could not let her get killed, and that is what would have happened if I hadn't stopped my car and gotten her.

      I looked around thinking that someone was probably looking for her. Then I walked the parking lot for about 30 minutes, but no one claimed her. I decided she was coming home with me. I immediately called a friend who had dogs and asked what do I do? She laughed and said to feed her, give her a bath and then hold her. That sealed my fate and hers as well.

      Morgan lived for a while at the women's recovery home I ran and instinctively knew which resident needed attention. She was never a jump in your lap kind of dog - mix of Lab, Chow, and Sheppard according to the vet. But she would sit by someone that was in emotional pain and just be there. I think she was disappointed when I could bring her back to our house after major repairs.

      Now, I'm waxing about her and not the article, but want all to know how much a rescue enriches our lives, others and they are a loyal companion. ~Marilyn and by extension, Morgan

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      Peg Cole 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      This story is so close to my heart as we live out in the country where this has happened countless times. Your telling of the tale from two points of view was so expertly done that I felt like part of the action. I loved this. Three of our dogs have come to us in this way and others, too, more times than I can remember. We've had Great Danes, Golden Retrievers, Dalmations, Chow Dogs, and even a family of two adult Labs with four puppies that someone in a pick up truck dumped out and took off. It was great to read of this happy ending for Hope.

      A wonderful, uplifting tale, Will. Well done!

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      Linda Bilyeu 2 years ago from Orlando, FL

      As always your storytelling took me on an emotional roller coaster ride. Happy, sad, scared, concerned, happy, mad, glad...you get the point I'm sure! Yay for Hope! :)

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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Audrey. We are mulling over the notion of a small rescue dog ourselves. Two dogs in a home is ideal IMHO.

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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Marilyn (and Morgan!).

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      One of the advantages of living in the country is room for several dogs, Peg! But that's also where the unwanted dogs usually get dropped off. I've given several a home over the years.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Linda!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      OMG, Will.....What a beautiful, heartwarming story about love between man & dog......extra perfect on this special Valentine's Day. I bawled from beginning to end. First because of the horrible abuse and neglect Hope had suffered at the hands of a monster. Then I cried just as hard while she was treated so kindly and given a chance at life.

      I had a Border Collie baby and he was amazing......the best dog in the world.

      Will, your story is one of the best short stories I've ever read and I mean that sincerely. UP++++pinned, tweeted & shared!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Wow! Thank you, Paula for those very kind words!

    • kalinin1158 profile image

      Lana ZK 2 years ago from California

      I loved this story. I love animals and stories of dog adoptions are especially touching for me. I could barely keep from sobbing the whole way through! And you've written it beautifully; I like that you've included the perspective of the dog, it was such a nice touch. Voted up!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Lana!

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 2 years ago from Asheville, NC

      I don't know how I missed this story. Sweetie was on death row when I drove two counties down to rescue her. No regrets at all. I wish all animals could have a happy ending like Hope did in this excellent story.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I wondered if you would read this Suzie, because your rescue of Sweetie gave me the idea!

      ^_^

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      Cindy Murdoch 2 years ago from Texas

      Beautiful story, and yes ... pound puppies make excellent family members and friends. We have adopted many including a border collie mix that was a very loving and intelligent companion in our home for many years.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Cindy!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

      Such a beautiful story Will, and I was with you all the way through, the reason why? Because we did the same thing many years ago! Our neighbor was an evil woman, married to an even worse man, they treated their dog, a collie cross Alsatian so badly that one day, in a flaming temper I stormed over to their house, banged on the door, the dog was tied up outside with a hurt leg, and I threw 20 pounds at them and yelled, now that dog is mine, try to take it back and see what you get! We had our Sheba for sixteen wonderful years, nell

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Excellent Nell. That's my girl. I am so proud of you!

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      Lesleysherwood 2 years ago

      “Hell if I will! I’m taking my pup!” He bent to pick up Hope, and she sank her teeth deep into his hand. He jerked it back and stared at the blood. Then he pulled back his leg to kick her and Tom Silvers hit him in the mouth with his big, work-hardened hand. The stranger went down, out cold.

      This paragraph gave me such joy to read. Hope got her justice in the end. You wrote this so well. We heard the story from Hope's viewpoint too.

      This account may be fiction, but these experiences are not. It sickens me the way dogs and other animals are treated.

      Excellent hub!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Lesley!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      My dog is a rescue dog. I've had her 11 years, and she has brought me nothing but joy.

      Wonderful story. Wonderful message.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Larry, and thank you for the follow!

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      Suzette Walker 2 years ago from Taos, NM

      What a beautiful story, Will. I love hearing from the perspective of the dog. I so enjoyed reading this. I love border collies, so I would love Hope. Good to read another of your stories.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Suzette!

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 2 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Beautiful and touching - in a tears streaming down your face kinda way!

      Rescue dogs have a special kind of unconditional love - just like Hope.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      Will this is the kind of story that makes you weep for the sadness of the dog's life, then weep for the joy of her new home. This was a fantastically written story and your comments about shelter dogs the piece de resistance!

      I voted all but funny, however I shared and g+

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This really touched my heart and I had tears rolling down my cheeks as I was reading this. We have rescued many dogs one of which was deathly afraid of men. It took our Trudy quite some time to be able to trust again but she finally did. We are also big believers in getting animals from shelters and do what we can to help support them. Up votes and definitely sharing!

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 2 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Yes, there is a Hope at every shelter and our next dog (a female) to give company to our K2 is going to be from a shelter.

      Thank you for sharing a powerful and an awesome story in a creative way.

      Btw, I was on this hub thanks to a sharing by Mary (tillsontitan).

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Maria!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you Mary, for both the nice comment and the share!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Peggy, and thank you for the share!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Suhail!

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I can’t believe I missed this one, Will. Sheesh. My apologies for being late in reading and commenting. Where do I begin with this moving, terrific story? I loved it. I liked how you used italics to highlight Hope’s perspective, her world and her experiences. (“Tom Silvers could pour more love into her nickname than a Robert Browning poem.” You write these casual, subtle inferences so well, Will.) Animal abuse -- including using dogs as breeders for puppy mills -- is a tragedy that occurs all too often. We have adopted rescue dogs and cats in the past, and will continue to do so…they are all treasures. Thank you for giving a voice to these unfortunate animals, and to those heroes like Silvers who give them love and another chance at life. Thank goodness for people like Tom Silvers and Will Starr. :-) Voted way up and shared.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Genna for that very kind comment.

      There are hundreds of internet videos concerning the capture of frightened, homeless, and mistreated dogs and their amazing transformation as they react to their first taste of human kindness:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhLriN3nBdE

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      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i love to read short stories, better than novels, thumps up, voted and pins

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Peachy!

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      Mary Hyatt 2 years ago from Florida

      I just came back to read this wonderful story. When I was married to my late hubby, the Veterinarian, we saw so many abandoned dogs that were found just running along the roads. My favorite dog was a senior Maltese that someone just put out on a busy street. It was a miracle he wasn't hit by a car.

      People can be SO cruel!

      Voted this UP and shared.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you Mary (a beloved name in my family), for both the kind words and the share.

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      Mary Hyatt 2 years ago from Florida

      Good Morning, Will. Mary is an old fashioned name. Mothers don't use that name much any more. They prefer the "new" and difficult names that are weird and hard to spell!

    • sujaya venkatesh profile image

      sujaya venkatesh 22 months ago

      a story dedicated to the dog

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 22 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Yes, it was.

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