Her Name Was Baby

January 7, 2008
By Alyssa Upcott, Clarkston, MI

Everybody dreams of growing up and being successful, married, living in a nice neighborhood, having children and well mostly just being happy. Mike and Judy had a good life; they had a nice house and a happy marriage. Still they wanted something more but had no idea that something so small would change their lives forever.
Mike and Judy had always wanted a dog. They knew they would want children in the future but thought a dog would prepare them. Unfortunately excessive circumstances had constantly kept them from getting one.

They have been married for a little over two years now and have happily moved into a small home in the suburbs. It was a brick ranch, with a long porch all across the front of the house. There were lots of windows that let in sunshine. The back yard was perfect for a dog, closed in with a wooden fence that made the yard private. Bushes and flowers lined the fence producing bursts of color here and there. There was also a small patio with several chairs and tables for cozy get-togethers. It was this patio where they talked often of getting a puppy.

Saturday started out just like most of their Saturdays. Judy made breakfast. They were sitting at the table chatting, eating breakfast and having coffee. Off in the distance they hear some dogs barking and their conversation turned to the big topic of getting a puppy. As she thought back to her childhood to a time when she wanted a dog, Judy looked sadly at Mike and asked, “Are we ever going to get a dog? Can’t we just go get one?”
Just then they heard some scratching at the side door. “What’s that?” questioned Mike.
They both looked each other in the eyes and rushed to the side door to see what was there. What would scratch at the door? Judy’s thoughts told her it was a dog. Each step she took towards the door seemed to take forever. The door stood as a barrier between her and what she had always wanted. Mike reached out for the door handle and as he turned the knob the door slowly slid open. Judy closed her eyes and held her breath. Looking up at her was the cutest little puppy she had ever seen. The puppy had beautiful aqua colored eyes that melted your heart when you looked in them. Her white fur was curly and soft. She was no bigger than a baseball mitt and Mike and Judy fell in love within seconds.

“Oh, isn’t she cute? Look at her beautiful soft fur.” Judy said softly. “I wonder who it belongs to. She looks awfully dirty. I wonder if she’s hungry.”

“Slow down girl. Let’s take things one at a time. Let’s give it some of our breakfast and some water.” Mike says.
They played with the puppy all day and even gave it a bath.
Judy was confident, “Maybe this is our answer to finally getting a dog. She found us.”

Mike said, “It is amazing, but before we get too attached to this little fur ball, I think we should put up some lost puppy posters.

“Ok, but I sure hope she’s really lost and no one comes to take her home. I would be distraught.” Judy sighed
That night Mike and Judy made flyers for the lost puppy. They thought it was the right thing to do, but secretly hoped no one would answer the flyer. They were already falling in love with the little dog. Judy started calling her Baby and they decided if no one answered the flyer they would name her Baby.
Bed time came and neither one of them knew what to do with the puppy. They didn’t have a dog cage and didn’t have the heart to leave her locked up in the bathroom.
Judy said holding her fingers criss-cross behind her back, “If you don’t mind, I don’t care if she sleeps with us.”
Mike wasn’t sure how that would work out but he didn’t know what else to do. So he sighed, “Sure, if you think we won’t roll on her, or squish her tiny body.”
Baby was so excited to be with Mike and Judy it took her fifteen minutes to calm down. She was running back and forth from the top of the bed to the bottom and back up again. She would plump up the covers and slip under the sheets. Judy just laughed and laughed and that got Baby even more energized, but Mike kept sighing with impatience and yawning. Before long everyone was exhausted and Baby settled in between the two of them.

The next morning Judy woke up and Baby had snuggled up next to her and was still snoozing. She was half under the covers and had her head next to Judy’s arm. Judy was amazed that the little dog had slept all night. It wasn’t long before her movements woke up the puppy. As soon as Baby was awake, she woke up Mike with a big lick on the nose. “Well, that was a different way to wake up.” Mike chuckled.
Judy started laughing all over again, and Mike looked a bit annoyed, but then started to get a big grin on his face.

“One thing is for sure, having this puppy makes us laugh” said Judy with a smile on her face.

As they began their day they soon realized they had to go out and put up the flyers. Their happy mood changed somewhat, but they got ready, loaded Baby into the car and headed out to the local stores to post the flyers. After they had hung all the flyers, they headed to the local pet store to buy some food and treats for Baby. The store employee showed them a good brand of food to buy. Judy could not help but getting her a chew toy and a rawhide bone to chew on. Judy saw all kinds of dog accessories she wanted to get but knew they really didn’t have the extra money. Also if someone answered the flyer Baby could be gone soon.

Two weeks went by with no response from the flyers. Each day that passed Mike and Judy became more attached to the little puppy. They had her house broke within the first week and she had learned to sit and lay down on command. She only chewed on her toy and bone and left all the other things in the house alone. Judy had picked up another toy for Baby. It was a stuffed rabbit and Baby carried it with her all over the house. The rabbit was almost as big as Baby and watching her carrying it around was quite a sight. Baby had brought a lot of fun and laughter into their home.

Time had flown by and two months passed, no one had ever come to take Baby and they were thrilled it had turned out that way. Baby was growing in size and continued to learn new tricks. The little puppy that had walked up to their door had brought even more love into their lives.

One day while Mike was playing fetch with Baby, he noticed that she was holding her leg up on occasion and using just three of her legs. He thought maybe she had a thorn in her paw and tried to see if anything was there. Nothing seems to bother her when he pushed and poked around her paw. He started checking out the rest of her leg and nothing really seemed to trouble her.
“Well, girl, I don’t know what the problem is. I guess we’ll just have to keep an eye on you.” Mike said looking confused.
Over the next week Baby continued to just use three of her legs. Mike and Judy
were starting to get concerned. They had thought whatever was wrong would start to improve, but it didn’t look that way.
Mike told Judy, “If she doesn’t stop holding up her leg by the first of the week I think we should to take her into the vet and have her checked out. We need to get her shots and license tag anyway. ”
It was a long weekend for them, but Baby seemed in a good mood. She just wasn’t using her leg. Monday morning Judy called the vet. She and Mike both went in with Baby later that day to see what was wrong. The doctor told them he needed to take an x-ray and what it would cost. Mike and Judy just shook their heads and said to go ahead. They waited while the doctor took Baby for the x-ray. The room seemed small, and they felt confined. The steel bench for examining the puppy looked cold and hard. It sent a shiver through Judy and she began to shake her leg with nervousness. To calm her Mike reassuringly squeezed her hand. They sat without talking, just holding hands, shifting their eyes around the room looking at all the medical supplies and charts on the walls. Finally, the doctor returned and the sound of the door opening made Judy jump. Mike looked up from the floor praying to hear good news. The doctor handed Baby to the couple. He slipped the x-ray into the holder on the wall and showed them the film. Baby had a problem with her hip and it wasn’t good news. He said it was a genetic disease that she was born with. The top of her femur and hip joint were misplaced and her bone was dying.
“Her injury isn’t something to be too concerned about because if she has the surgery to remove the dead bone, she will use her leg again and will be fine.” The doctor said calmly. Mike and Judy looked at each other stunned.
Slowly, Mike asked the vet, “How much is all this going to cost?’
When they heard his answer, Judy began to shed tears and tremble.
“We don’t have that kind of money, what are we going to do?’ Judy sighed.
Mike took Judy’s hand. The doctor told them they only had a few weeks to make their decision.
The sad couple picked up Baby and went home to think about their situation.
They had to think of something to do to come up with the money to be able to get Baby’s operation.

That evening they were watching TV and trying to pretend everything was alright.

Judy suddenly sat up straight and told Mike, “You know what? They do fundraisers all the time for ill people. What if we did some type of fundraiser for Baby?”

They stayed up for hours and came up with the idea of a pet and owner walk-a-thon to raise the needed money. This was going to take a lot of work, but they were both willing to put forth the effort.
During the following week Mike and Judy made more flyers giving information about the walk-a-thon and why it was being held. The local businesses remembered how Mike and Judy had tried to find the little dog’s previous owner and agreed to put up the posters to get help for her. Mike and Judy’s friends found out about their problem and helped them get organized. Soon they started getting calls from people who wanted to join the walk with their pets. Baby’s doctor was one of them. Everyone was to pay an entry but participants could also get donations from others to sponsor their owner-pet team. Mike and Judy wanted the walk to be a fun event. They set up stations where the pets and owners could take a brake and participate in silly games and have treats and water.
In just two weeks they had put together this event to help Baby. The day of the
walk arrived; it was being held in the local park. Light scattered clouds were sprinkled across the sky. Birds were flying about and squirrels ran for shelter. People were gathering around with their pets and there was an excited buzz of conversation to be heard. Judy recognized one of her neighbors. She had her dog dressed in a red jacket that matched her own. Others had bells on their pets and one man had fashioned a ball cap for his big lab. It was on backwards with the bill to the back. The turn out was not bad considering how quickly it had been put together. There were all kinds of dogs with their owners waiting eagerly for the start. Some were small, like Yorkies, Poodles, and Pomeranians who were sniffing at each other. Bigger dogs like Labs, German shepherds and Huskies were pulling and straining at their leashes. The walk was started with a loud piercing whistle and off the crowd went in a somewhat disorderly blob. When it was over the two mile walk was a success. Everyone had had an excellent time.

That evening Mike, Judy and several of their friends gathered to see how well they had done with the fundraising event. Judy totaled the entry fees and Mike worked on the sponsor donations. As the total was added up it came up short of the total amount needed but it wasn’t too far off. Even though they were short, they would find a way to get the rest of the money they needed. Judy sighed and hugged Mike. This was the first time in two weeks that she was able to relax and feel like everything might be okay. All of their friends ordered pizza. While they were waiting for the food to arrive Baby started to bark when someone knocked on the door. Mike went to pay for the pizza, but there stood the owner of the local corner store with a donation for Baby’s surgery. He told Mike he had enjoyed seeing them with their puppy as they took walks. They had always looked so happy and he wanted to help with their dilemma too. He presented them with a check. They couldn’t believe his generous gift and invited him in to have pizza with them. This extra donation gave them more than enough money to pay for Baby’s hip surgery.

With the help and caring of friends and strangers, Mike and Judy were able to get the surgery for Baby. It was a major operation and she was really tired and confused about what had happened to her. Judy carried her around and Mike held her on his lap. With all the love they gave her it wasn’t long before Baby was back to her normal self. She was still limping because it would be some time before she regained the strength back in her leg. Nevertheless there she was dragging around her toy rabbit. They thought back to that first day when Baby had scratched at their door. They had no idea how much they would come to love their baby. All of the good memories and the thought of how things turned out for the best made Judy start to think maybe it was time to have a baby of their own. She now knew more than ever that she was ready for motherhood.

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