I spent a lot of time in the doctor's office when I was a kid due to my asthma and allergies. Finding a new Highlights Magazine where the "Hidden Pictures" section hadn't been circled was always considered a jackpot sighting. But since I went every week I needed something else to stimulate my imagination. There were the standard Curious George and Mickey Mouse books, but my absolute favorite was The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowery. Such a simple delicate story about a puppy who lagged behind because he was curious about everything and hence, a little poky. The book resonated with the wonderment and pokyness inside me and reminded me of a true story that my mother had told me when I was a child.
When she was a little girl she had wanted a puppy really badly. She begged her father night after night even though she knew that they couldn't afford to buy one. Finally, after hearing about a batch of puppies that was being given away he surprised her when he picked her up from school and told her that they were going on a field trip to get a puppy! The anticipation she felt had been building up for weeks. When they arrived at the house and knocked on the door, a somber looking woman answered. Her father explained that they were there for a free puppy. The woman looked down and then pointed to a mound of dirt over on the side of the yard and explained that unfortunately all of the puppies had died and had been buried a couple of hours ago. My mom sat on the stoop and sobbed as she stared at the dirt mound. Just as her father was about to nudge her to head back her vision was startled by something she saw move beneath the dirt where the puppies were buried. She wiped the tears from her eyes and stared more intently at the dirt mound as she walked toward it. The woman still stood staring out the door in amazement. My mom started digging with her bare hands and a paw slapped her hand. She quickly pulled on the paw and removed the dirt around it and there was one puppy that had managed to survive. The woman couldn't believe her eyes either. My mom took that puppy home that day, named him Shane and had him for nine more years. The Poky Little Puppy is as endearing to me as the rescue of Shane as a puppy in my mom's story.