A Dog from Dad

Today’s Dog of the Day is Poppy, the dog who brought happiness to her grieving family. Read the touching story!

In May 2012, I lost my father to cancer. It had only been three weeks from his diagnosis to his death, and six months later, I still felt like I was just starting to come to terms with the loss. Growing up, my dad and my dog Shannon were the ones who made me feel safe, and now that I didn’t have one, I felt like I wanted the other. My husband had reservations, but our daughters thought this was a great idea (of course!). But as much as we looked, I never seemed to find the right dog.

We were looking for a retriever mix, but then I saw a picture of a young beagle/foxhound mix on Craig’s List, and there was something about her face that I couldn’t get out of my mind. We were looking for a calm dog–her current owner was looking to re-home her because she was too hyperactive to live in an apartment in the city. The first time we met her, she knocked over all the children, chased the cats, and raided the garbage–yet somehow we knew she was the one.

I asked the girl who brought her what the puppy’s name was, and when she was born. Her name was Poppy–it only struck me later how much “Poppy” sounds like “Popeye,” the secret emergency code word my dad told me to say if I ever needed help. And she was born the week that my dad was diagnosed with the cancer that took his life.

Poppy has become my hiking partner, my daughters’ guardian, and a constant companion–Poppy’s adoration of her “pack leader” has even won over my husband! A few weeks after we got her, I was watching her pulling the girls around on their sleds, and realized that I was laughing–really laughing–for the first time since my dad’s death. At the risk of sounding overly sentimental, I like to think my dad got us a dog.

Hunter, NY
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