Santa does NOT bring live animals on his sleigh!” I said. “But, MOOOOOOM, all I want for Christmas is a dog! A black dog, like Buck!” my seven-year old son, Phillip, said. “Buck” was his aunt’s black lab and the only dog that he was not afraid of. Phillip did not just “say” he was afraid of dogs; he was a “hide behind momma’s legs, shaking” type of afraid.
On Christmas morning, after the traditional photo on the steps, our two children come bounding downstairs to see what Santa had delivered! An American Girl doll and a dog crate with bowls, dog toys, and a stuffed black lab. He was so confused. “Where is my puppy?”
Trying to hold in the giggle, I said, “Santa brought you a puppy!” Disappointed, Phillip said, “This isn’t a real puppy.” “I know, but let’s just open our presents and see what else you have!” I said. We opened presents, ate our traditional lunch, and prepared to visit our family.
We packed up the car and off we went. Our family travels took a couple of days, but unbeknownst to Phillip, we were making a pre-planned stop on our way home. When we turned off the main road in Cumberland County, Phillip asked, “where are we going?” “Just exploring.” I answered. Then, we turned down a dirt road. “This isn’t just exploring,” my son said. We pull into a driveway next to a house.
My inquisitive son asked, “What are we doing here?” I answered, “Visiting an old friend. I am going to knock on the door. Want to come?” My son and daughter cried, “Yes!” They quickly took advantage of a chance to get out of the car!
As we walked to the door, a young man came out of the house, holding a squirming black lab puppy. He handed it to my son. Phillip looked up at me with disbelief. I nodded my head and smiled at him. The squeals of delight could be heard for miles! He looked at me and said, “I am going to name her Maggie!” Pure joy!
–Lorrie Andrews, Team Member