6 More Hours
6 hours can change everything.
Joe, being the great father he was, would not give up on Rascal. Instead, he offered 6 more hours to the specialty vet to save his dog’s life. When the 6 more hours came due, he offered 6 more.
This went on for almost 24 hours, until Rascal’s nose twitched at the smell of a year-old treat Joe’s daughter Sam found in her purse. The nose twitch prompted an all-out life-saving endeavor that would ultimately land Rascal back home with his family. Rascal and his brother Spudzy had been poisoned by death treats someone had thrown into the family’s yard. Both dogs ate the treats and only Rascal survived.
Rascal had lived through a lot of loss, but he never lost Sam. He watched as his human kids grew up and flew the nest. He watched as his dog brothers and sisters came and went. He watched as the matriarch of the family shot and killed Joe, the patriarch of the family. Staying near Joe until help arrived, the police allowed him to remain close, to grieve.
When Sam was finally able to enter her home after it was no longer deemed a crime scene, she went to collect Rascal and his belongings. She found him alone and scared, covered in her father’s blood. She asked for 6 more hours. 6 more hours with her father. 6 more hours of time to think. 6 more hours of not having to do this. Being the strong woman she was, Sam knew there was no chance of 6 more hours this time. She gathered up Rascal and they cleaned up their loss and set to recover the home in which they had both been raised.
The next year was a blur, but as the days moved on, both Rascal and Sam found a little of Joe in each other. Sam learned everything she needed to know about life from her father, and Rascal learned everything he needed to know about being a dog from the same man. They had both lost an irreplaceable man, and if it weren’t for having each other, they would have lost it all.
How does a family recover from such loss? How does a daughter bury her father decades too soon? How does a dog process the violent stripping of the man he loved? For Sam and Rascal, the answer was to join forces and rescue each other. The age-old adage of “who rescued who” reigned so true in this family.
Today you can find the two of them at the river, at the brewery, or at the veterinarian’s office doing what Joe did for the both of them: taking care of each other. They both miss Joe, and at times neither of them can hardly bear it. So they stick together and know that if Joe had a choice as to how they grieved, this would be his choice.
If you had 6 more hours with your family, how would you spend it?
Kristin Regan is a busy professional and rockstar inanimal welfare. She loves a good beer and an old dog, rollin' in her '92 VW VR6 Corrado, and her fur family: Chuvian, Lou, Finn, Bom Dilly, Big N' Tasty, and Mufaletta.