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Jake, the fashion plate of the neighborhood

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I arrived at the Bible study, only to meet Jake and his master, Sam.

Jake was energetic and happy.

Sam said, “Jake wants to show you his stitches.”

I looked at him and said, “Reeeaaaly?”

The week before, Judy asked prayer for Jake. He was going in for liver surgery.

She explained, “Our prayers have been answered.”

“Did Jake have his surgery? How much have you spent on that dog, anyway?”

Sam smiled, “Probably six thousand dollars.”

“Six thousand dollars? That dog is a walking doctor bill on four legs. You have spent money on his teeth. You have him on a special diet because something is wrong with his stomach, and now he’s had liver surgery? If he were mine I would say ‘good-bye’ to Jake and give his wardrobe of clothes to Gus.”

The women gasped and stared at me.

Sam quipped back, “Jake said he was glad he wasn’t your dog, and he was glad I’m his daddy.”

I said, “I’m glad Jake isn’t my dog, either. I can think of a lot of things I could spend six thousand dollars on, and it wouldn’t be a dog.”

Judy said, “You don’t understand, they found copper in Jake and he didn’t need surgery after all. They wouldn’t have known about his liver, except for his yearly physical.”

“You give your dog a yearly physical? My Sweet Al doesn’t even get a yearly physical.”

More gasps from the ladies.

As our group gathered, the ladies continued talking about their animals.

Sheryl held up a beautiful brown leather fleece-lined coat and said, “It will fit Gus fine.”

Judy explained, “Jake didn’t wear that coat this year. He got a new one.”

Sheryl was elated. “Gus is enjoying the Thunderwear that Jake gave him, too.”

Judy added, “The Thunderwear helped Jake with his anxiety problems, and it will help Gus, also.”

I said, “What is this, a clothing exchange for dogs? I sure wish that coat were in my size. I’d fight Gus for it.”

Sheryl gleefully bragged: “Gus is becoming the envy of the neighborhood by all his hand-me-downs from Jake.”

Never one to be outdone, I found myself competing. “Angel puts a different color handkerchief on Daisy each month to keep with the seasons. This month it’s green. Daisy’s a country dog. It’s hard to keep her kerchief clean.”

What will these women with their dogs think of next? Whatever they come up with, I’m sure Jake will have it first. He is definitely the fashion plate and a leader in the latest fashion. Gus is following close behind, in Jake’s hand-me-downs.

Sheryl looked over at me and asked, “Are you taking notes?”

“Not me.” I smiled. “I’m autographing a copy of my book for Jake, as my favorite pet to write about. I’m wishing him good health. I must include Gus next time.”

Final brushstroke: I prayed for Jake and I think it’s working. My heart is softening. Pagosa is dog country. I guess I’m going to have to get with the program.

Artist’s quote

“Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God’s gift of Himself.” — Mother Teresa.

Readers’ comments

Please send in your comments to betty@bettyslade.com. The second book in the Scarlet trilogy, “Year of Grace,” will be finished early summer. It is set in 1977 in Archuleta County. Some of you will remember those days.

This story was posted on May 16, 2013.