WHEN A DOG STEALS YOUR HEART
This little white pup was really unforgettable! Some neighbors from Eaves Street—the Wattenbargers—called Daddy to say their dog had had puppies. They’d found homes for all but one—her tail was exposed to freezing temperatures and they’d had to amputate most of it. She just had a little stub of a tail left. Did we want her?
She didn’t look like any other dog I’d ever seen—no one seemed to know what breed she was. Somehow her little face always seemed to have a sad expression. That black button nose and eyes on her shaggy white face. She was energetic but gentle.
I’m not sure why I named her Joy—but probably because it was my best friend’s middle name—Barbara Joy. Barbara’s family always had a cocker spaniel pet. They seemed very fancy—but my Joy was just a bundle of love.
We always said she was a mind reader—she seemed to know where we were going whenever we got into the car. If Mother was driving to pick me up at North City School, Joy would bark and beg until she let her come along. Not so if we were going to church—that wasn’t Joy’s thing! She also loved to eat Mayfield’s ice cream—as we all did and still do. Sometimes Daddy would stop at the store on the way home from work and pick up a quart of ice cream. As soon as he got out of the car, Joy was excitedly barking around his legs waiting for her dish of ice cream. How could she know he had that ice cream, we wondered.
I can still see her when we gave her a bath—and smell her wet fur as she shook herself dry when the bath torture was finally over.
When I was 7 we moved from the log house (where this photo was taken) back to the Eaves house on Eaves Street and Joy had new places to explore. One summer we had family company—and we piled into the car to go visit some other family. Joy chased after the car as we started off, begging to go along, but we had a carful and told her to go back home. Sadly, one of the neighbors came along while she was still in the road barking after us and ran over her. He felt terrible—and carried her to our house. She was badly hurt and broken—there was nothing the vet could do, he said. We made her a little bed in the laundry room and watched over her. She wouldn’t eat. “Give her some Mayfield’s ice cream,” I said. Surely that would save her. We set the dish before her and she just couldn’t eat any. We knew that was the end. Sweet little Joy.