G a i l

Age 5, part 3

5 years, 2 months (November) 

The puppy is mine. When I found her on that morning, she was thin and scared and had a bad scratch across her nose. She was lying on the cold ground, so I picked her up. She was very, very light and easy to carry, even for me. She was shivering. She didn’t make a sound as I carried her back to the house. With closed eyes, she lay like a lump in my arms.

The minute Daddy saw me with the puppy, he rushed to me. He didn’t ask any questions or yell at me for going outside in my pajamas. He just said, “Gail, give her here. Go get dried off and dressed.”

A short time later, the puppy was in my lap, wrapped in a soft towel, warm and dry. Daddy had cleaned up her nose, and the scratch didn’t look so bad anymore. Her eyes were open, looking at me, but she didn’t move. The shivering had stopped, and she just lay, resting. Meanwhile, John stood next to me, carefully petting her head. The twins played on the floor, pretending to be dogs. Daddy stood by, drinking his coffee and smiling. I knew that he loved the puppy. We all did.

“Her name is Wendy,” I said.


Everything’s different now, because of Wendy. Mornings are different because Wendy wakes up early and needs to be let outside to pee. Afternoons are different because Wendy wants to play. Nights are different because I’m not alone anymore with just Blue and Sissy.

She follows me everywhere. When I’m busy doing my chores, she’s always around, and when I eat, she sits beside me. She loves to cuddle on the couch and run in the yard with me.

Jewel didn’t like Wendy at first. She hissed at her and arched her back. She batted Wendy’s still-wounded nose, claws outstretched. Wendy growl-yelped and showed her small sharp teeth to Jewel. That’s when I got mad.

“Jewel, this is Wendy. Wendy, this is Jewel. We’re a family, and I’m your mama. You do as I say. And I say that you need to be nice to each other! You’re going to stop fighting this minute!”

And then something surprised me. All four eyes – two emerald and two brown – were staring at me. Neither the dog nor the cat was moving a muscle, and their faces said, “We understand.”


It’s getting colder now, and we can’t go outside as much. I miss Jewel, and I think Wendy does, too. We sit at the porch door and look out into the frosty backyard. Sometimes we see her going by, pretending not to be looking for us, even though I know she is. She’s so pretty in her white, gold, and black, just like a jewel in the gray fall light.