This week's writing prompt for the #MFRW 52-week Blog Challenge concerns a favorite holiday memory. The one that comes to my mind is from a long-ago Christmas and concerned my introduction to animal rescue.
You know me and shouldn't be surprised that my favorite memories center upon animals.
When I was 14, my parents received a call from the parents of my best friends that a dog needed a home. Immediately. The situation involved a woman who'd gotten a divorce and could barely afford to pay for rent and groceries for herself and her children, much less the family dog. Being Christmas Eve and with four kids hearing of the situation, my parents didn't have the heart to refuse.
On Christmas Day, Dad brought home an older female boxer, the ugliest dog we'd ever seen. We already had a male boxer, but this dog ... wow. Aside from being desperately thin, Duchess had a jutting underbite. However, she also demonstrated a protective attitude such that Dad didn't fear intruders when he had to work out of town. Obedience trained to the nth degree, Duchess occupied that "practically perfect" status of champion house pets. Our other boxer, Butch, proved to be a bad influence on her.
Rehabilitation began with food--basically as much as she could eat. We made sure to feed her separately from the other dog. It was safer for everyone that way. She regained weight, but never grew into a beauty. Her beauty was all on the inside.
In those days, we let our dogs run loose. (Not smart, I know. I certainly don't condone such practice today). One day, Butch came back, but Duchess didn't. We never learned whether she'd been hit by a car, taken in by another family, or met some other fate.
She remains one of my favorite dogs of all time. Decades later, my father still reminisces about her.
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