I was thirteen when we got our first family dog. Before that, I got my initial lessons in dog ownership from my Grandfather and his dog, Prissy. Prissy was a teeny-tiny golden retriever, she earned her name by the way she carried herself. My grandfather took Prissy everywhere. She did not wear a collar or a leash. Her recall astounded me, she was always at my Grandfather’s heels. It is important to note here that whenever possible, I was also, always at my Grandfather’s side. I loved that he loved dogs and I did love Prissy, but in all honesty, I was terribly jealous of her as she was able to interrupt attention I was getting with the wag of a tail or a simple bark. Even though I was used to sharing the world with my little sister, this was the very first time I experienced a human putting a pet before a human, even if only for a brief moment here or there.
I was just a child when I learned one of my greatest of life’s lessons from my Grandfather. This memory is burned into the fabric of who I am, I recall it vividly. At first, it stuck with me because I felt emotionally scarred. But in reality, the memory clung to me because, well because it was supposed to.
My Grandfather took me to get ice cream and Prissy of course went with us. I was in the back seat with her. My grandfather handed me the ice-cream cone and I did what any child of this age would do, I waved the cone in front of Prissy’s face and said ‘ha, ha dogs can’t have ice cream!’. Before I even knew what had happened, Prissy ate my ice cream cone, whole. In the process, she scratched my finger with her teeth. I screamed. I mean I screamed so loudly that my grandfather had to pull over to fully assess the dramatica unfolding in the back seat. In a fit of tears I somehow communicated that 1. Prissy had STOLEN my ice cream cone and 2. she had attacked me (it seemed like a valid claim at the time).
My grandfather stared back at me for a long time (probably taking time to thank God he’d never had a daughter). And then …
Him: She ate your ice cream cone because you offered it to her.
me: (screaming) I did not!!! I was only showing it to her!!
Him: She’s a dog, you put out your hand with food in it, she took that as a sign to eat it.
me: (IN A FURY) She knew it was mine!! She did it because she knew you’d take her side!!
Him: She’s a dog. She doesn’t understand taking sides. (He was so calm, it almost made sense).
me: (still crying hysterically) You love her more than you love me. (There, I’d said it).
Him: (pausing to respect how utterly wounded I must have looked) I love you both. I could not love either of you any more or any less. You are my first born grandchild, I would give my life for you. She is my best friend, I would run into a burning building to save her. One day, you will understand.
One day indeed you wonderful, wise man. One day indeed.
This is beautiful. He was a wise man indeed, and there is great irony in the fact that the dog’s name was Prissy based on your reactions. :).
Also, Melvin looks so super handsome. Love these new photos.
Yes, I’m sure at some point and time we were known as Prissy 1 and Prissy 2!
I’m sitting at my desk eating lunch, bawling hysterically and choking on my food. This is the most beautiful tribute and life lesson I’ve ever read. Ever.
We hope you regained your breath! We do not want to cause choking! 🙂
We love you!
Well, now you have me crying. What a great story! Sometimes it takes that hard thunk to the head to make us understand all of those life lessons. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Thanks, Beth! I need a thunk on a head a lot!
Such a very special and very wise grandfather. That was simply beautiful. And just so you know, now my Mommy’s crying, too.
We send you virtual tissues! Thanks for the compliment!!!
I LOVE THIS POST!!!! I miss my grandfather too! Your grandfather was a beautiful wise man to have said that…Thank you for sharing this and for helping me to stop and remember my precious grandfather today!!!! Great pic as well…your blog makes me so happy!!!!
Thank you!!!!!!! Grandfathers rock!!!
What a sweet story (even though you didn’t think so at the time)!
Ha, silly little girl I was! (and sometimes still am!)
This perfectly sums up how I feel about Rufus. Also that picture of Melvin is sooooooooooooo incredible! Love that face.
I know it does – we are similar souls when it comes to Rufus and Melvin! And that picture, one of my all time favorites!!!
LOVE this. With age comes wisdom indeed.
Funny that how that works!
A wise, special grandfather – and now a wise, special granddaughter – who has a wise, special friend of her own. Lucky you. Thanks for sharing this story.
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Oh my word, your grandpa sounds awesome. I am sure he is super duper proud of the animal lover you have become.
This is so amazing 🙂 I have a big smile on my face. What a lucky lady you are to have had such a wise man. And I agree with Emily ^ it sounds like a lot of who you are is reflected from him!
Just read this one…so great and well written. Such a great story.
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