Man's Best Friends

Copyright © 1998 Walt Zientek

(A sequel, sort of, to 'The Perfect Lab' and 'The Private Lab')

The wise old grandfather ambled slowly through the quiet October twilight with
one hand on his grandchild's shoulder. The big black dog paddled softly along
side, lightly crunching fallen Autumn leaves.

"Gramps," the child asked, "Dog's really are Man's Best Friend, aren't they?"

"Yes... and no," the old man replied.

"Gramps, this is another long story, isn't it?"

"I'm afraid it is. Afraid it is.

You see, people live long, long lives compared to dogs. And people make lots
of friends in lots of ways. If you're lucky, at least to me, you'll have many, many,
new, Best Friends.

Sometimes, a Best Friend is a dog. Maybe a litter-runt the Momma doesn't want.
You clean it and feed it and bond with it in a way like no other.

Sometimes, your Best Friend is your water dog, your Guide Dog or your ankle
biter. Sometimes, your Best Friend lives with you in your home. Sometimes only
in your heart.

But sometimes, a Best Friend is two legged. Maybe a squirrelly, dirty faced kid
in a Cub Scout cap. Maybe a girl with freckles on her nose and bruises on her

They climbed up onto the big front porch and sat back on an ancient glider swing.

"Yep, little one, folks are surely blessed. Best Friends can wear a big brother's
gym shoes, a mother's apron, a nurse's cap, a policeman's badge or a construction
worker's hard hat."

The old man absent mindedly touched the big dog's head, turned a bit and fixed
his eyes upon an old, worn, empty rocker that sat beside the swing.

"Sometimes your Best Friend wears a thick, leather collar around its neck. But, if
you are truly blessed, your Best friend wears a thin, gold band around her finger."

The child thought for a moment and took the old man's calloused hand.

"And sometimes, Gramps, if you're really, really, really blessed, your Best Friend
wears a Grandpa's face."


For all the Best Friends of my life and yours

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Last modified: 8-19-2000

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