A dog named George

Growing up in a farming community more than a half-century ago, I knew only dogs that lived outside. With one exception.
Uncle Ned and Aunt Ann had no children, but they had a darling little white dog named “Snowball.” When we visited, the little dog was always on Aunt Ann’s lap.
Snowball was “queen” of the household.
I still remember that the rest of my family seemed quite convinced animals belonged outside. But things have changed drastically over the decades. Now, most of us are comfortable with dogs and cats in the house.
And many of us view our pets as important family members. That said, however, like human children, pets have quite different personalities.
Take our two dogs, for instance–“Amber” and “George.”
Amber is a mixed breed that we adopted from Caring Hands Humane Society nine years ago. If Amber were a child, she would be the best-behaved child you have ever met.
She politely greets people at the door, then goes to a corner and takes a nap.
George also greets people at the door. But he’s ready to play—no boring naps for him!
His exuberant personality can be a pain sometimes. But I remember the neglected, scared puppy that came to us almost three years ago, and I smile because George finally is happy.
When we adopted George, we really didn’t want another dog. But this homeless little waif had showed up on a friend’s doorstep in a thunderstorm. He desperately needed someone to care for him.
At first, the scared little dog had no voice—only a very soft whimper. It was months before he learned to bark loudly and wag his tail like Amber.
When we decided to adopt George, we had no idea how active he would become. But, had we known, we would have given him a home anyway.
George has lots of dog friends. One of his best friends is “Astrid,” a little black Chihuahua. But because of his energetic personality, George doesn’t have a huge bunch of people friends!
George’s very best friends are Ralph and Diane. And the highlight of George’s week is Saturday at 2 p.m. when Ralph arrives for our weekly game of Rook.
When we tell George that Ralph is coming, he patiently waits by the door for his “buddy” and behaves like a perfect gentleman until Ralph leaves.
Diane visits often and always brings treats for Amber and George. And this week, she brought a special gift for George. His own book!
Chris Haughton’s children’s book, “On No, GEORGE!” was published in 2012. It has won awards around the world and been translated into more than a dozen languages.
The book is described this way on Amazon: “Bold, hilarious artwork captures the innocent charm of affable George, a dog who is trying to be good–with disastrous results.”
How did Haughton know our George so well!
George loves having his book read to him. He cocks his head and focuses intent, brilliant eyes on the reader. He knows many of the words in the book, but “cat,” “walk,” and “out” get special attention.
Like the George in the book, our little boy wants so much to be good. But, like all of us, he sometimes has a hard time making the right choice when temptations cross his path.
All we can do is keep trying!
Marie Snider is an award-winning health writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@cox.net

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