Ms. Pup had a really wonderful relationship with my father. He was very excited when I got her, and they got along famously. Even when Dad was too sick to play with her anymore, Ms. Pup would lie down by his bed whenever we visited him and watch over him. She knew what was up. When he was in the hospital, she was always able to find his room among many many similar rooms. He died with all of us by his side, including her.
Shortly before he died, I told him that because he and Ms. Pup had such a special relationship, I was going to sponsor a puppy in his name. I didn’t know how I would get $6000 together, but it was okay if it took a while. I asked him if he had a preference as to what breed, and he really didn’t mind. Dad liked dogs, and wasn’t picky about breed.
After his death, I set up a sponsorship account at GDF, and encouraged family and friends to donate in his memory. Within a few months, we had over $1000; enough, I thought, for an ear and maybe a paw or two. But there was no rush. We’d get there.
Dad died in April, and my birthday was in December. I asked that any money that would otherwise have been spent on presents for me be donated to the puppy sponsorship instead. A few days after my birthday, I was at a friend’s house for his own birthday celebration, and he handed me a card. I felt like a heel, because I hadn’t brought him a thing, but he said not to worry. I opened the card, and taped to the inside was a Sacajawea golden dollar coin. The card had tens of names in it. My friend had tracked down many, many people who knew me online, collected contributions from them, and matched them all dollar for dollar. The Sacajawea dollar was the last dollar needed for the entire $6000 sponsorship. I was speechless. Then I called my stepmother to tell her the news. Then I cried and thanked my friend, all my friends, for helping.
As it turns out, a friend of mine was a puppy walker for GDF for some time, and one of the puppies she raised became a breeder. It is my hope that when this dog has her first puppies, one of them will be a male black lab, and I will sponsor him and name him Rob. My friend and my stepmother and I will hopefully all go to GDF and pick the puppy out personally. I think Dad would have liked that.