By Suellis Kelley

This is a story about the greatest puppy I ever knew! One day I went to the country and saw the cutest puppy I had ever seen, and it was so young, lost, and thin. The way it was trembling, I knew it must have been abandoned. So, I picked him up and brought him home.

The next morning, I took him to the veterinarian in my neighborhood. While balancing the puppy and the clipboard in my lap, I filled in the paperwork; and then patiently waited for our turn. When the doctor called us in for our appointment, I held the little puppy in my arms and cradled him closely to my chest as I walked him in. After entering the room, I automatically placed him on the examining table.

The veterinarian looked at the puppy, then chuckled, stood back, looked me up and down, and asked, “Where did you find this WOLF?, and what do you propose we do with it?”

WOLF! Nah, you must be mistaken. I was in the country hiking, and this little pupply was standing hidden under some plants and crying; so I brought him home. He had no business being out there all alone.”

The veterinarian chuckled once again, shook his head, and moved back to the wolf-puppy to begin his examination. After a minute or two, he looked me straight in the eyes and stated, “Ma’am, wolves are in the dog family, and what you have here is half-wolf/half collie.”

I realized that he was serious and laughed. “Well, he is a city dog now! Can I keep him at our house?”

The doctor thought for a moment and said, “Because he is only about four weeks old, and because he is a half breed, you could probably train him. He laughed and suggested strongly that I bring the puppy back to see him regularly so we could monitor his development, keep his immunizations up to date, and do all the other things that puppies typically require to grow strong and develop healthy bodies. The doctor’s orders were easy to follow because that is what folks usually do, and it was convenient as well since his office was less than a block away, and he was already caring for our other pets.

After the examination, I brought him back to the waiting room, named him Zach, gave him a hug, and signed the paperwork. I then took him to his new home where he now belonged. Within a few months he grew into his paws, and learned how to sit, stay, and fetch a ball. As he got older, we learned that he could do something else as well. When he became happy his tail would wag, and he would sit as close as he possible could beside the person that he wanted attention from. After that, he would look into their eyes, show his teeth, and literally smile. Zach became a favorite of everyone in the neighborhood; and fortunately, when be became full grown, he was only a medium-sized dog that weighed around 65 pounds.

The veterinarian had informed us that wolves are smart; and from my experience, I can attest that they are.  Zach quickly learned everything and anything we taught him. Of course, he could do all the regular things: walk beside us, roll over, and lay down on command. However, he could do unique things as well. Once when we were carrying in groceries from the store, he opened the door to assist us and that became his regular practice. He also decided to carry a water bucket from room to room as we mopped the floors; and he helped us do other chores. When Zach made the usual doggie mistakes, he was easy to forgive, just as it was easy to adore him.

People who knew him often commented about his behavior and kind disposition. So one day I asked the doctor if all wolves were similar to Zach. The doctor said because he was half collie that he inherited a gentle nature; and because he was half wolf, he was smart and clever and had a natural instinct to please and interact with his family; which was us. Apparently from Zach’s perception, we were the leaders of his pack; and from our viewpoint, there was nothing wrong with that! — As he often brought fun and joy into our lives while he frequently thought of different ways to assist us, protect us, and interact with us. 

One day, a person decided to enter the backdoor of my home. Hearing the noise I went to see, and looking out of the kitchen window, I saw from the corner of my eye that a man was standing in the patio. In this moment, my imagination got the best of me, and as I started running toward the front of the house to get to the door, I heard the crash of breaking glass. I began running faster, and suddenly I heard whooping and yelling coming from the patio area. “Get this dog off me! I swear to God, he is wagging his tail, but he is staring in my eyes, and I can see his teeth! Susie!!!”

Of course, I recognized the voice. It was my best friend’s husband, and as I headed back to the kitchen, I asked, “Why in the world did you break my window?”

“I didn’t,” he howled.  I then saw that Zach was sitting as close as he could on top of Leroy’s chest, wagging his tail, and smiling. I started laughing, told Zach to move; which he happily did, and then asked Leroy how he ended up on the floor.

As he stood up and straightened his clothes, he explained, “When the dog came through the window, I slipped — and then, he suddenly was sitting on top of me and wagging his tail while showing his teeth!”

I laughed again and explained that Zach just wanted some attention and was smiling because he was happy — then I realized that despite in his exuberance, Zach had made a doggie mistake — that my wolf would always protect me.

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