What Makes a Dad?

Father’s Day is a day to honor our fathers, and all men who fulfill the role as father figure. Stepfathers, grandfathers, uncles, and adult males deserve recognition from both their two-legged and four-legged ones who understand the positive influence they have been on everyone,human and canine. Dads can sound tough, but when the chips are down, they are real softies, as illustrated in this supposedly true story, “Every Boy Needs a Dog.”

“Dad, there’s a dog down the street who needs us.” My seven year old looked at me seriously. It had been a tough week at work, and I was looking forward to relaxing on this Dad’s Day, so my immediate response was, “Well, we don’t need a dog.”

“Dad, every boy needs a dog and that dog needs me….his human is mean. Yesterday I saw him hitting the dog with a stick, and told him she shouldn’t, and he said if I was so worried about the dumb dog, I should take him. I said, okay, this week end is Father’s Day, and my dad likes dogs, so we will take him.

“Scott, I do like dogs, but we don’t need….” I couldn’t finish, because my thoughts went back to a time when I was a boy not much older than Scott.. Oh, how I wanted a dog, and I soon discovered a neglected dog at the end of the block. The poor animal often had no food, so I began saving part of my school lunch for him.

One afternoon I realized that he had pulled loose from his chain and was following me home. I deliberately left the garage door open, and I hardly got into the kitchen, when my brother called, “Hey, come see. There is a dog in our garage. He looks hungry.” Dad responded quickly, “No way do we need a puppy.” Then he glanced at the open garage door. I took a deep breath and admitted I had left it open. Dad just shook his head, and said, “Well, the dog can stay in the garage tonight; we’ll take him to the shelter in the morning.”

I saved most of my supper, so he really had a good meal. We rigged up a box in the corner with an old blanket, and he curled up and went to sleep. Early the next morning I hurried into the garage…there was the puppy, still curled up in the box. I crawled in beside him, and the next thing I knew Dad was standing there, shaking his head. “This dog belongs to someone. We’ll feed it and then I am sure someone will claim him” No one claimed him, and to our amazement, Dad agreed, “if no one claims the dog by the end of the week, we will keep him, but you have to take the total responsibility to care for him.” When Sunday night came, our family celebrated. We had a dog, a wonderful dog.

Several months passed before I finally confessed to my Dad that I knew where the dog belonged, and what I had done. He just smiled. “I know. I saw him tied up every day when I went to work. I talked to the owner. He didn’t want the dog. Buddy is ours.” I was jolted back to the present, realizing that my son had crawled up onto my lap, something he hadn’t done in a long time. “Scott, let’s go talk to that man and get your dog.”

Dogs and dads are a lot alike: on their loyalty you can depend…..your friends and protectors to the very end. They’ll love and protect you their whole lives through, and their devotion and love they’ll shower on you.