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Blackie

Story ID:3176
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Family History
Writers Conference:$500 2007 Family Memories Writing Project
Location:Sambro Nova Scotia Canada
Year:1969
Person:My Dog Blackie
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Blackie

My father motioned me toward the strange car parked in our driveway. “Come
here, Son. I want you to see something.”
The driver’s window rolled down. A man looked down at me. “Open the back
door and get in.” he said.
I looked at my father. “Go ahead, son. It’s OK. I want you to see something.” He
opened the door for me. “Get in. Look in the corner, on the far side.” I could see a dark
blanket piled there.
The man in the front turned, “Don’t you see it?”
“No! I don’t see nothing.” I said meekly.
“Over there.” he pointed. “See it?”
“See what?” I asked.
“Get closer.”
“Mike,” my father said from behind, “Slide over and look at the blanket.”
I looked closely at the ruffled blanket and saw something dark move. It was
a black puppy. “He’s ours.”
This is my first memory of Blackie.
We thought she was a male, but later learned differently. My dad wanted to get
rid of her, but the tears from my brothers and I saved her. My parents had her spayed.
Something went wrong during the operation, because for the rest of her life, Blackie’s
back legs never stopped shaking.
When I was sad, I would sit by one of the huge rocks that littered our property.
Blackie would come, lick my face, and settle beside me. I’d hug her, “Blackie, I love you.
You’re my best friend.”
Wherever I went, Blackie followed. When we walked to our swimming hole,
more than a mile from home, she would try to follow. We were scared she’d be hit by a
car, so we chased her home.
Blackie would turn home. With her head low to the ground, ears limp at the side
of her head; and tail tucked between her legs, she slowly walked away - dejected. A mile
down the road, I’d look back, and see her sneaking in the gutters. She would be too far
from home to send back. “Come on, Blackie!” I’d call, and she’d jump from the gutter,
and run to lick my face, as her tail whipped the air.
I’d be in the meadow, see Blackie coming, and I’d hide in the deep grass.
“Blackie!” I’d call. “Blackie!”
I’d hear her running in my direction.
“Blackie!” She’d rustle closer. Each time I said her name, she’d move closer,
homing in on me.
She’d be a few feet from me, standing still, ears lifted, listening for the faintest
sound, “Blackie.” I’d whisper. Her head would whip in my direction, see me and pounce.
At five years of age, she began to have a weight problem. We cut down on her
food, but she continued to gain weight. Mum was visiting Irene, an elderly relative of
ours. “I just love that black dog of yours.” Irene said. “She is so kind. I’ll be sitting in my
rocker by the window over there, and that dog comes along and stares at me. Well, I ain’t
got no dog food, but I had a big old roast in my fridge. I just cut a big hunk off it and
gave it to her.”
We learned Blackie had befriended several senior widows. She gave them her sad
stare - head down, back legs shaking, and her eyes rolled up at them. Those big brown
eyes won their hearts. We stopped feeding Blackie, but she continued to get fat.
Blackie was ten, when I found her wandering in the meadow “Blackie! Come
here, Blackie.” She looked in my direction, but seemed unsure of what to do. She’d
make a few tentative steps forward, stop, and turn in another direction.
I grabbed her collar and led her home. “Mum! Mum! Something’s wrong with
Blackie.”
I explained, “Mum, Blackie was wandering in the tall grass. It looked like she
didn’t know where she was going.”
“Michael,” she said. “Her eyes! They look cloudy.”
She was right, they were cloudy. I felt sick that night, as I listened to my parents
discuss what to do. “Blackie is going blind. She has to be put down. Not enough money
for a vet.” They decided she could stay for a few days.
I prayed and cried myself to sleep that night.
Next morning I checked her eyes. The cloudiness had become milky. Those soft
brown eyes were gone. I couldn’t live without Blackie. I needed her. Every free moment,
I prayed for her eyes to get better.
“Michael,” Mum said softly to me. “You know Blackie is not happy tied to that
old dog house. Her heart is broken. We’re going to have to put her to sleep.”
I begged for a few more days. “Mum, please! Maybe it will go away.” Tears filled
my eyes.
“OK, Michael, just a few days.”
I sat, petted my old friend, and prayed, “Please, Lord, make her eyes better.”
Five days later, I ran to Blackie. The whitish haze wasn’t as bad. “Mum, come
look!”
“I’m not so sure, Michael. They look the same to me.”
“Mum, right in the center, it’s not as white. It looks like it’s clearing up. We
have to wait. Give her time, Mum.” She was skeptical but agreed.
My prayers continued, and Blackie’s eyes improved. We removed the rope from
her neck, and she took off. Her round body jiggled as she rushed to her widow friends.
Blackie lived for several more years, waddling along our small streets. She was
fourteen, when she began losing control of her bodily functions. It was time for Blackie
to visit the vet. I was sad. I knew, this time it was the right thing. Blackie’s time had
come. The Lord was calling her home, where her legs wouldn’t shake anymore.
I was telling my wife, Ginny, about Blackie the other day and started crying,
just as I am now. You see, I checked with a few vets. Not one has heard of a case of
severe corneal infection or cataracts that has reversed on its own.
It was an answered prayer.

Michael T Smith