Do you want to hear a dog tale that can get you teary-eyed? Believe me, you’re going to want to get out your tissue. You’re about to go through a lot of emotion, but the good stuff’s gonna be worth it. I promise! If you follow these simple steps you will not regret it. You will have an amazing time, and your dog will feel like a part of the family, too. Trust me.
It was a beautiful sunny day. The temperature was in the upper 80’s. Temperatures in the mid-’80s are not unusual during the spring, summer and fall months. I was about 10 years old, and just about every dog in the neighborhood was out and about with their masters.
We were having a good old-fashioned family day. In fact, we were having a day that would come to define my life. We had just finished with the chores for the day and were relaxing at home when my mother called my attention to something. It was her, my father, and my brother waiting for me outside the kitchen door. All of us were wearing wicker hats.
The hat came off revealing a large brown wolverine bear flag, which represented my great-grandfather. He had come to live with us in 1863. My father explained that he and my grandfather lived in the house from 1863 until 1915. He was my great-grandmother’s uncle. So, I was to come outside. I replied to my family that I was ready for my afternoon nap. I put on my sweater and boots and took off down the street to explore the countryside.
As I walked, I thought back to a time when I was a puppy. It was my grandmother’s bear flag. We lived in the country, near a creek. One cold January night, our house was lit by the fire in the kitchen. We all were wearing winter clothes. The entire household was listening intently for the bear to make his entrance. The first thing I remember is being pushed down and I was trying desperately to quiet the loud booming bear. The bear had an enormous size and strength. I was very happy to be quiet. And, I was not even a puppy then! I ran out of the house crying and I remember the bear having his way with me. I knew I would be safe when I came back inside.
In the springtime, I continued to run to the bear in the kitchen, but I was never scared. Now, I began to run to the bear in my backyard. I would run to the bear and play with him. I would run to him and we would run around and about with the bear as if he were nothing. I remember running into the house, and my family trying to understand what I had done so that they could make me feel comforted. I was not afraid of bears then, nor am I afraid now. I just loved to run to him.
When I was older, I would see a documentary about the animal and I had to make a connection between my grandfather’s bear and me. I knew that the bear was always on my grandmother’s bear flag in the kitchen. So, I approached my grandmother about me having a bear. My grandmother looked at me and said, “No, that bear is dead.” I looked at my grandmother and said, “You mean I can have a living bear?” She smiled and said yes. I knew that we would use him in our backyard, where we could play with him, and run to him, and just be in love with him.
The time came for me to make a decision. I know that I would not be alone at my grandmother’s house. I looked at my grandmother and I said, “Yes, I will have my living bear.” She smiled and nodded, and said, “It is a good decision.”