By Daithi Jane Houlihan Borges, of New York State, formerly of Winchester, Conn., and many other wonderful places.
This story takes place in Winchester.
"How is Happy?" my mother asked my sister Deirdre and I from her hospital bed.
Time seemed to slow and stop even though our response was immediate and without flaw. We were good daughters, what could we tell our Mom sick in a hospital bed with terminal brain cancer about our family dog Happy.
My Dad bought Happy from our neighbor and friend Al Clark from down the hill.
Twas the same place he bought our best pony, Cocoa, for my young nephew Shawn.
Both lovely animals had brown /reddish fur. Only Happy's coat was Fox-colored with white paws and a striking white diamond at his delicate forehead. He or she (I was a kid so I didn't know- just a neutral happy dog to me) had a tinge in a fringe of white along the scruff of his collar. As Happy was a partial mutt, I later in life would look with my daughter, Ginny, through Dog Encyclopedia's to try to share about Happy and to define her heritage by looks and description of character in case I could ever possibly as an adult now find another one just like her. The closest I came to finding ancestors through my foibled attempt was that our "Happy" somewhat looked like a mid-sized Hungarian hunting hound which possesses lovely short reddish fur and a delicate stature.
Happy though did not bark a lot. "Happy" was happy. I think she was called "Happy" because she was literally always smiling. Perhaps she knew she was going into an Irish family.
So Happy arrived and became an immediate part of our family.
I would bring Happy out on the green lawn with me to play. We would play a great new game called "Frisbee."
Happy was luckily much better at running and catching the Frisbee than I was at throwing it where I was trying to aim. So therefore, Happy made me feel great about myself. We tousled and rousled with each other like young bear cubs on the ground- lots.
Now Happy could play like the best of them yet Happy also had a genteel quality. Happy could dance and dance well and dance a long time. Happy and I would lock arms (did I mention Happy could stand upright at will?) and sweepingly waltz around the front yard. ( Reader note: notice how "Happy" is now not only able to do things just as well if not better than humans (smile, be cheerful always, play frisbee like a professional, wrestle with feeling) yet now Happy has gained arms instead of front legs and paws)
Photos of this to prove it are being tracked down presently. Ya gotta believe me!
"Where's Happy?" my sister and I would ask each other that week. The snow in Winchester had piled up so high that winter that we only had a towering shoveled path from our step into the yard.
"Was she hit by a snowplow when we let her out?" "She always stays in the yard and comes when she is called." "Gosh, I hope Happy didn't get caught in a trap in the woods?" We could not locate Happy up or down the road and Deirdre did search in the nearby snowy woods for her. "Happy, happy????" we yelled.
Happy also had many human priorities such as its favorite living room chair, which none of us would possibly ever take from this sweet dog after he/she claimed it. Dogs made out pretty well in our house- no dog house blues for them. I remember Happy just knew how to get sooo cozy in his cushioned arts & crafts chair. He would jump in it and circle in it and bed down perfectly. Sooo Happy. Through my attending school most of the year during the day, he become my mother's daytime bosom companion.
One day when we had a visitor, my mother was sitting on the couch laughing (she was known for her hearty laugh) so emphatically from her diaphragm that Happy being so moved jumped on her lap wanting to share in the fun and by accident stuck his nozzle in her open laughing mouth for a second. Well then our laughter went into family hysterics.
This was our reply to Mom in the hospital. We young girls took the easy way out in a day when you don't talk about illness, let alone cancer with the patient and you certainly shield them (wisely???) from any bad news. "Oh- that's good" Mom said calmly "as I had the strangest dream." "Happy came to me in this dream and laid his sweet head peacefully down on my shoulder and died." We then felt relieved to tell Mom the truth. This truth has set my sister Deirdre, my daughter Ginny and I free from doubt- free from pain.
Does a dog have a soul? The answer is "Yes, Virginia a dog does have a soul!"
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