My husband and I share the care for our son and daughter-in-law’s dog. She’s a sweetie and the most exuberant greeter I’ve ever met. Even if she saw you just five minutes ago, she’s just as excited the second time as she was the first.
This is the story of how one rescue dog came to Carding, inspired by the one whose care we share.
Enjoy and please pass this to all of your canine-loving friends.
Andy Cooper, the owner of Cooper’s General Store the everything-you-need emporium in the center of Carding, never meant to get another dog. As he told his best friend, Edie Wolfe, he’d lost enough fur-bearing buddies to last him a lifetime.
But he still retains a very squishy spot in his heart for dogs which is why he’s been letting the folks from Vermont Dog Rescue park in the store’s lot for information and adoption days for so many years.
If there’s one thing that Vermonters share, it’s a deep love of dogs. The Coop’s parking lot overflowed all day with people stopping by to pat the would-be adoptees, donate to the rescue organization or take home a new pet.
Every time the latter happened, Andy heard a large “Whoop! Whoop!” from the crowd, and he smiled to know that another little one had found a good home.
It was a busy day so he never got the chance to venture outside for himself until afternoon. By that time, the volunteers from the rescue organization were starting to pack up to head home.
“Thanks Andy,” Ellsworth Fynn said as they shook hands. “I always appreciate that you let us come here. Carding’s such a receptive place.”
“Did the Elliotts come by? They lost their big German shepherd last fall, and I know that Bruce and Cate planned to get a dog today,” Andy said.
Ellsworth looked down at the paperwork on the clipboard in his hands. “Yep, they were the first ones here this morning. I think if it had been left to their kids, they would have taken all the dogs home.”
Andy laughed. “Yeah, there’s a lot of energy there. I expect I’ll see them all racing through town this summer.”
Just then, a low moan made his head turn toward the organization’s van. “Somebody sick?” he asked.
“No. We had one little girl left,” Ellsworth said, reaching in to stroke the ears of a large brown dog with expressive eyes.
Andy leaned over to pat her as well. “Soft ears,” he said. “What’s her name?”
Ellsworth looked at his paperwork again. “Sable. We rescued her at the last minute from a place down South. The family who dropped her off said they had too many dogs and couldn’t take care of the ones they had. Too typical a story by half.”
Sable groaned a little louder, rolled over on her side, and embraced Andy’s arm with her front paws. “Aawww. She’s a charmer.”
Ellsworth cocked an eye in Andy’s direction. He was well aware of the store manager’s objection to owning another dog, and he appreciated it. Pets leave big holes behind in the lives of their humans when they move on to doggie heaven. But he said nothing, just in case Andy might change his mind.
“How many dogs did you bring today?” Andy asked as he sat down next to Sable to give her a more thorough rubbing with his hands. Her fur was short but not coarse, and he guessed her name came from the way she felt. Sable closed her eyes in appreciation of his gesture.
“There were a dozen with us,” Ellsworth said. “It’s been a good day for a lot of dogs as well as humans.”
“Yeah, I can see that.” Andy drew in a large breath, remembering the promise he’d made to himself about “no more.” He pulled his hand away. Sable sat up, her nose pointed down, her deep brown eyes flicking back and forth between Ellsworth and Andy.
Andy rubbed his face. “Oh man,” he whispered, shaking his head. Sable’s head drooped. “How long have you had her?”
“She’s been with her foster family for about a month,” Ellsworth said. “Though I think we’re going to have to move her because they’ve got three other dogs, and Sable is so docile, she never gets her share of food or attention.”
Andy sighed, and stood up. Sable moaned, a low tone that probably reached only Andy’s ears. They looked at one another for a long, long, long minute. Ellsworth held his breath. He knew this was the crucial moment.
“I hope I don’t live to regret this,” Andy whispered to himself. Then he turned to Ellsworth. “So, how much is your adoption fee?”
Thank you for journeying with me to Carding, Vermont. If you subscribe to my website, you’ll find a short story in your inbox every Thursday morning.
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The Carding novels are (in order of appearance):