By BOB EPSTEIN
For The Vista
When I picked up our little “Terry” at a Tennessee Animal Shelter some eight years ago, little did I know that someday, besides all the smiles and happy times Barbara and I would enjoy over the years, he would one day also save my life!
We found him in a cage with two beagles. He sat in a tiny bowl looking all bedraggled and sad —he’d been left in a shoe-box, on the steps of the shelter overnight, during a very cold Tennessee winter.
The runt of what turned out to be a large litter, from a very mixed heritage, Terry is part Wire Haired Terrier and Lhasa Apso.
He has webbed feet, a tail like a long haired Dachshund, and a muzzle like a Schnauzer.
We paid our $80 for the adoption fee and took the bundle of black fur home. He slept in his food bowl for a while, and finally moved himself over to a doggie-bed we had for him, but had refused to use until he decided it was more comfortable after all.
Two nights ago, I walked Terry on his long wind-up leash and noticed one of the 12 solar lights I had installed on fence posts that stood by our orchard — some 40-feet away from our giant walnut trees — wasn’t lit.
I went over to check it out. Terry began pulling hard on his leash so I couldn’t take apart the light with both hands to check the battery. I yelled at him to stop pulling, but he ignored my entreaties and kept up, pulling harder than ever before. Now, Terry weights 24-pounds soaking wet. So I pulled the light from the fence and headed back to my home to release Terry and fix the light.
As I stepped through the front door, I heard a huge crash. The one dead giant walnut tree, thousands of pounds of wood, slammed the exact fence pole where I had just been trying to repair the solar light!
Yes, Terry saved me. He felt or heard the tree begin to break off at the trunk. I didn’t hear or notice anything amiss that night — it was quiet and humid and except for the crickets and frogs at the pond.
For many years I’ve extolled the benefits of having a dog in people’s lives in my writings, and even in casual conversations with both pet owners and those that said they’d like to have one but that a pet limited them, or would cause them to have to bend over with their bad back, arm, leg, etc.
For all my exercise in bending, walking, running, throwing his toys, petting, laughing, smiling, getting licked and loving this simple,wonderful animal, I also had another great life-changing bonus:
Terry saved me — what more can I ever say?