Here is how Sparkey first came into my arms, and into our lives and hearts, forever...
Downtown was the Firemens' Pancake Breakfast...an annual outdoor autumn event and a bright light in the sad ole city where we work. Fire engines were proudly shinin' brightly in their reds with kids climbing up and down the ladders guided by the big arms of smiling firefighters. Smoke from the pancake grills was lifting artfully into the air, carrying the tittilating aroma of pancakes, reaching the nostrils of many humans and canines alike. Children were jumping and screaming with glee in their light little bodies. Colorful balloons danced on their strings as if they were trying to free themselves and fly over the whole, happy affair.
At the time, I was a social worker and advocate doing AIDS education and community outreach. And there I was at the Pancake Breakfast, a huge outdoor event, hosting a table alongside fire trucks and other service providers, welcoming people who took interest in the info. Mostly, I was an observing participant whose heart was warmed by such a classic, fun, family event. I remember feeling good that I was getting paid to be there as all my original resistance to working on a Saturday simply dissolved.
As I took the scene in, I looked across the way and noticed something orange and alive, about the size of a bread box, darting crazily around, quickly telling the story, "I'm a puppy, a wild little puppy, and I have gotten away". I stood up and called out to the puppy, opening my arms wide, coaxing the cutest thing I ever saw over to me. When we locked eyes, he came a-runnin', no, barreling over to me like we had been best friends who parted and were, at long last, reuniting. When he reached me, this little creature leapt into my arms and proceeded to lick my face until his nibbles between licks were sufficient for us both. While I would love to have taken this boy (yes, boy) home, I knew I needed to help him find his people and vise versa. So, with a make-shift string leash and a big sign, I set out to help reunite this dog to his family. I asked everyone I could if they knew if someone had lost their puppy. No one had a clue, so I parked the pup under my table, gave him some water, propped up the lost pup sign, and waited, secretly hoping that he was indeed a stray. After all, we had just moved to a house in the country with a huge fenced-in back yard that bordered conservation land, at the base of a small mountain which made for great daily hiking. My colleagues and I compared notes to see who had the best set-up and I was the lucky winner, hands down. They encouraged me to take the boy home, which was all the encouragement I needed before packing my stuff up, including the adorable puppy dog. Didn't dare call home first---my strategy was to simply introduce the little dog in person and take it from there...(Not to worry, dear reader, soon after my lucky find, I contacted the MSPCA with a found puppy notice, as well as a special lost and found radio program, and not a soul responded).
When it came time to hop up into my car, this cute puppy hesitated and it took lots of coaxing to assure him it'd be alright. The little guy was so exhausted that he crashed right out in the back seat of my car, on his back, legs completely splayed out...What a character, i thought, and then I noticed how he either peed or threw up en route upon our arrival to home. I called ahead to tell our then 9-year old son Rene' that I was coming home with a great surprize--and i instructed him to be in the bedroom with his Dad, Keith, with the door closed. Rene' went along with the plan, not even knowing who or what was to come, but he believed me when I said it would make him very, very, very happy.
As I entered our house with the pup securely in my arms, all was quiet and serene, bedroom door closed...I hollered out, "Are you ready for the surprize?" and I heard a resounding chorus of "Yes". I then let the puppy down, ran to the door, opened it and yelled, "Surprize!" and in charged the puppy who proceded to leap right onto the bed to meet and greet the rest of his new family. Within minutes of the bliss fest that followed, we knew he'd always be with us, and we immediately set out to give the boy a name..."Happy" was the runner-up name, but because he arrived fresh from the Firemans' Pancake Breakfast, we all agreed that Sparkey, who was indeed as sparkly as a sparkler, was the perfect name for who would become the epitome of a great dog, a dog's dog, an only brother to our only child, and our forever baby, Sparkey D. Dog.
who wrote this on Sparkey's last full day on earth