Issuu on Google+

2011 The Calling

By Troy Kechely Copyright 2011


There is sorrow enough in the natural way From men and women to fill our day; But when we are certain of sorrow in store Why do we always arrange for more? Brothers and sisters I bid you beware Of giving your heart to a dog to tear. - Rudyard Kipling

1

The Calling by Troy Kechely

Copyright 2011


“Hey big boy!” Draco’s owner boomed his greeting as he opened up the front door. Draco was already there to greet him, as he had heard the truck pull up in the driveway. It had been a struggle to get his 144 pound body up off the floor and over to the door. Ten years old, Draco suffered from arthritis and other ailments all exacerbated by his excessive weight. Even with the pain his whole purpose was to be with his owner. As the man came in, Draco’s eyes were bright with excitement as his stub tail wiggled so much that his entire back end swayed back and forth. “Did you miss me buddy? Huh? I got you a Christmas present but you can’t have it till Christmas” The owner playfully rubbed the dog’s head before closing the door and taking his coat off. Draco could smell the bone that was stashed in the man’s coat pocket. He knew the smell well, as he had been given one every year at Christmas for nine years. Only distracted for a moment by the smell of the bone, Draco followed his owner around the house until he finally settled into his big easy chair. This was the highlight of Draco’s day. As his owner turned on the TV with the remote, Draco sat down in front of him and laid his massive head on his lap. “Needing an ear rub, huh big boy?” Gently his owner started rubbing the dog’s ears and Draco sighed in contentment. After a while his owner stopped, which pulled Draco out of his pleasureinduced trance. Raising his head he looked at his owner with his big brown eyes and nudged him a little to see if he would start again. “No, big boy, dad’s not feeling well, I need to go take some medicine.” Draco didn’t understand all the words as he moved back to let his owner get up but he had sensed something was wrong with his owner for some time now. The smells and body language all said he was ill. Draco could relate as he had not felt well himself for over a year. His joints had ached more and more and he had developed large calluses on his legs, along with always being hungry and thirsty. Still, none of that mattered as long as his owner was around. After his owner returned from the bathroom, he started preparing both of their dinners. This was Draco’s second favorite thing. Food! He was excited as he watched his owner fill his dish, so much so that hopped up and down on his front legs, though his weight prevented him from doing much more than just the motion. As Draco ate the man prepared his own meal and then, after plugging in the lights on the small Christmas tree in the corner, he sat down to eat. After dinner and another session of ear rubs Draco lay down on the floor at his owner’s feet. He heard him talk on the phone to someone and mentioning how he was not feeling well, but soon drifted off into a deep sleep, only to wake a few hours later when his owner shut off the TV and went to bed. Draco whined a bit as he tried to get up, his back hips hurt more it seemed with each passing day. The sound of his dog in pain caused his owner to stop in mid step. 2

The Calling by Troy Kechely

Copyright 2011


“You okay big boy?” Draco paused for a moment at his owners words but then managed to get up and follow him into his bedroom where Draco had a pile of old blankets on the floor that was his bed. Both soon were asleep and given respite from their pains if only for a short while. “Hey big boy, you want some breakfast? Come on, sleepy head, time to get up.” Draco hadn’t heard his owner get up. Though the words were ones spoken a thousand times before, there was something different in his owner’s voice this morning. Draco sat up as he watched his owner leave the room. With a whine and much effort Draco finally was able to stand up and walk out into the living room where he found his bowl of food already prepared. After eating and a trip outside Draco came back in, only to sense that something was indeed very wrong with his owner. He was standing in the kitchen with his hand on the wall and the other on his chest. Draco whined out of concern as he pushed his head against his owner’s leg. The owner looked down at his faithful friend and could see the concern in the dog’s eyes. “It’s okay big boy, I just need to sit down for a bit.” The man walked into the living room and sat heavily into his easy chair. Draco came up and laid his head in his owner’s lap. The man started rubbing the dog’s ears as he had so many times in the past. It was just a minute later that the rubbing stopped. Draco opened his eyes as he felt the man’s hands go limp and fall gently away. Draco whined a little as he nudged at his owner’s hands to keep rubbing but with no response. Moving a little closer, Draco tried again to get his owner to respond, but still nothing. His owner’s body was motionless, and Draco knew that he would not move again. Draco sat there for an hour with his head on his owner’s lap, hoping for a miracle, but it never came. Finally, with his joints aching, he lay down at his owner’s feet. The day passed by with Draco holding vigil over his owner’s body. Several times during his watch the phone rang, and Draco would raise his head, hoping to see his owner wake up and answer the phone. Still nothing. Night fell and the house was pitch black as Draco held his vigil. His bladder ached from the need to go out and relieve himself, but without his owner to open the door, he couldn’t. He held it as long as he could, but finally just went to a back room. Returning to his vigil he tried to ignore his stomach as it grumbled in hunger. Lying down at his owner’s feet, Draco tried to stay awake but couldn’t. “Hey big boy.” Draco woke up with a start, his ears straining to detect where the voice had come from. The blackness of the house hindered only Draco’s sight, but his nose and ears were focused on finding the source. Nothing, only the silence of the night and the smell of death. The rest of the night Draco slipped in and out of sleep, hoping to hear the words just one more time. 3

The Calling by Troy Kechely

Copyright 2011


Morning came, but it brought no joy or comfort. Draco tried once more to wake his owner with a gentle nudge of his hand with his head but to no effect. His stomach grumbled all the more now and again he had to go to the back room to relieve himself. Though Draco and his owner lived alone for many years and at times his owner would leave for the day Draco never felt alone. Not until now. All he knew to do was stand watch over his owner’s body. With the loyalty that only dogs possess, Draco took his position at his owner’s feet. It was afternoon when Draco raised his head at the sound of a vehicle coming down the road toward the small house. Straining to get up, Draco walked over to the door and listened intently as the vehicle stopped and a door was heard to close. He heard the footsteps approach and then smelt the brother of his owner on the other side of the door. The knock and sound of the man’s voice caused Draco to bark, something he rarely did. Finally the door opened and Draco excitedly greeted him. “Hey Draco, how you doing buddy? Oh dear God!” The brother rushed over to Draco’s owner and then called someone on the phone. Soon lots of people showed up, including an ambulance. It was evening before all had left. Draco now truly was alone as they had taken his owner’s body. Still hungry, the dog made his way in the darkness to the bedroom and lay down on the pile of blankets. He whined several times before finally falling asleep. “Hey big boy.” Draco awoke instantly at the sound of the distant voice. He let out a soft bark, hoping to elicit a response from the darkness but heard nothing more. That next morning the brother arrived and let Draco out and cleaned up a little. He fed Draco but it wasn’t the same. Draco, though hungry, did not do his happy hoppy dance that he normally would. The brother was distant as he went about finding some papers and making calls. Draco sensed the brother’s pain which only added to his own pain of having his owner gone. The brother then left for the day, returning later that evening to let Draco out and feed him. For over a month this was the routine. Twice a day the brother would come and feed and let Draco out. Draco lived this lonely time as best he could; when awake he would hurt, his joints and heart aching. He longed to have his ears rubbed just one more time but it didn’t happen. The Christmas tree had been taken down and the bone that was to have been his Christmas present still resided in the jacket pocket hanging by the door. It was the end of January when the brother showed up with another man. Draco didn’t understand much of what they said but he knew that they talked about another home for him. Draco didn’t want another home. This was home, he just wanted his owner back. Several weeks later the brother and man showed up again, this time Draco was to go for a ride. It had been so long since he had gone for a ride his excitement caused him to momentarily 4

The Calling by Troy Kechely

Copyright 2011


forget the loss of his owner. Soon he was in the back seat of the car going down the highway. He stayed at the man’s house that night. For the first time in almost two months Draco felt the pleasure of an ear rub as the man let him stay indoors with his family and other dogs. Draco thought this was the home they had talked about but the next morning Draco was going for another car ride, this time to a vet where he was checked out and given a shot. He heard the man talk about how great a dog he was and how he was going to a good home with Rottweiler Rescue. The next day the man brought Draco to meet a lady who was going to drive him to meet his new caretaker. Draco was confused, but having people around again was nice. The lady’s car was small and the back seat had several dogs in crates already loaded up. The only space was in the front passenger seat. With much effort the man and lady lifted Draco’s large body into the car. Draco growled a little at the discomfort of the lift but never tried to bite them. He didn’t know how to sit on the small seat. There was stuff on the floor that made the space a bit bigger to move but his size prevented him from turning around. The lady thanked the man and then got in the car and headed north. Draco immediately lay down with his head across the lady’s lap. “Hey sweetie. You’re going to a new home today.” She started rubbing Draco’s ears and he slipped into a blissful slumber. The car slowing down and turning onto a gravel road woke Draco. He tried to sit up in the cramped seat. The cold winter air combined with the multiple dogs in the car left most of the windows steamed up. Draco could see a man standing by a blue car. He wondered if he was to be his caretaker. The lady stopped the car and got out and talked with the man for a bit. Then they both walked over to the door where Draco was sitting. “Hey Draco. Wanna go for a walk?” The man reached in and attached a new collar and leash on Draco’s massive neck. With help from the man and lady Draco was unloaded from the car. His joints ached from the long trip and confined travel space so it felt good to walk around. Draco read the man that was walking him around the 5

The Calling by Troy Kechely

Copyright 2011


area and could sense he was to be his new caretaker. After a short walk the man and lady loaded Draco into the back of the man’s car. This time Draco had a bed and lots of space to lie down in. For the first time since his owner died Draco felt content as they pulled onto the highway for another long drive. This time Draco didn’t sleep but instead watched out the windows, fascinated at the world as it whisked by.

Soon they arrived at the caretaker’s home. There Draco met the caretaker’s two other dogs, both old like him. Griz was older than Draco by three years and though a little smaller Draco knew that Griz was the top dog in the house and didn’t try to challenge him. Grace was half blind and, like Griz and Draco, had joint issues. Though just meeting, they all three got along well. The caretaker’s parents were also there. Draco especially liked the caretaker’s step-father. It only took being there an hour for Draco to learn that he could get ear rubs from him just like he got from his owner. After several outings in the large back yard and a good dinner the caretaker headed for bed. Griz slept out in the living room on one of two extra large orthopedic dog beds as always and Grace followed the caretaker. Draco followed him as well, the connection had been made when they first met. Draco knew that this man was to be who he would spend his final days with. In the bedroom Draco found several large dog beds on the floor just like the ones in the living room. Draco, exhausted from all the travel over the past several days lay down and soon was fast asleep. “Hey big boy, you will be home soon.” Draco awoke at the words and whined as he strained to see their source. His caretaker heard him and woke up as well. 6

The Calling by Troy Kechely

Copyright 2011


“What is it Draco? Do you need to go out?” Draco got up slowly and walked into the hallway to see if the origin of the voice that spoke the words could be found. Nothing was there except the sounds of Griz snoring and the soft illumination provided by the night light in the hallway. When his caretaker tried to get him to go outside Draco went back into the room and lay down. The caretaker lay on the floor next to him for several minutes and rubbed his ears until finally Draco drifted off to sleep. Over the next several months Draco enjoyed his new home. Ear rubs were the norm and he was never alone; even if the caretaker was gone Griz and Grace were there. Though Draco didn’t care much for it, he was put on a diet and soon lost 20 pounds. His happy hoppy dance at dinner went from being just a motion to being full on hops up into the air, his head rising and falling above the counter top in humorous rhythm as meals were prepared. Yet even with the weight loss and being able to go on walks and car rides Draco could feel his health decline. Though he was now on medicine and even getting shots to help with his arthritis, the pain progressed. At one of many vet visits Draco heard his caretaker and the veterinarian talk about Cushing’s Disease. Draco didn’t know what it meant, he just knew he hurt. Even with the pain Draco would still want to go for his daily walks and car rides with his caretaker. He loved to just lie in the back of the car and stare out the window; occasionally he would sit close enough to stick his head out, but mostly he just wanted to enjoy life as it passed by. The months passed along and soon Christmas lights were up at Draco’s caretaker’s house. Like the December past Draco could sense that something was wrong. His caretaker seemed worried and even sad. Draco tried to make him happy but that seemed to make it worse. He noticed it when he was struggling to get up 7

The Calling by Troy Kechely

Copyright 2011


or go outside. Each time his caretaker would help Draco as best he could and say the same things. “Try and make it a little longer, buddy; okay?” Draco didn’t understand but did his best to get along. It was while outside in the snow with Griz and Grace that he fell for the first time. His hips just stopped and Draco’s body went to the ground. He lay there for a minute a bit confused. His caretaker stepped out onto the deck. “Draco, you okay?” Draco started to get up when he heard another voice, not his caretaker, but something stronger, something like nothing he had heard before. “Hey big boy, you will be home soon.” With the sound of the new voice Draco got up with great effort and walked up the ramp that allowed the old dogs access to the deck. He wobbled a bit as his hips almost gave out again as he went through the door. All the while the caretaker watched with heartache filled eyes. Draco wanted to go lie down; he headed back to the bedroom and as he got there his hips gave out again. He managed to scoot his body around enough to see the tear roll down the check of his caretaker. Holding back a sob the caretaker walked into the room and sat on the floor with Draco. While softly petting Draco’s head the caretaker made a call. “Dr. Anderson, I am afraid it’s time.” The caretaker’s voice struggled to stay composed. “His hips are failing him and I want him to go out with some dignity, he is a Rottweiler after all.” By now the tears were flowing down the face of the caretaker. The call lasted only a short time after that. “Well buddy, I am out of options for you. God I hate to do this.” Draco nudged the caretaker’s hand as he petted him and gave him a gentle lick. With a deep breath the caretaker stood up and got his coat on. He went out and backed up the car to the front porch and opened up the back. Draco still lay on his bed unwilling to try and get up again, confused on why his back end wasn’t working. The caretaker put Griz and Grace outside and got his parents to come and help load Draco into the car. “Hey big boy. Time to come home.” The voice was so strong now. Draco, with all his strength, stood up. The caretaker and his parents stood watching in amazement as Draco went to the front door. Opening it, the caretaker let Draco out onto the porch as he was telling his parents how to lift Draco. Then Draco heard the voice so clearly as if coming from inside the car. “Hey big boy. Come on big boy. Time to come home.”

8

The Calling by Troy Kechely

Copyright 2011


With excitement and to the amazement of the caretaker and his parents Draco jumped into the back of the car. His hips immediately collapsing after he got in. Even though in pain Draco felt happy. The caretaker choked back some tears and shook his head in amazement. Closing the back of the car the caretaker got in the driver’s seat and his mom got in the back as she wanted to be with her “happy hoppy boy” on his final drive. The drive into town was like any other. He didn’t care that his hips didn’t work, he was getting ear rubs and watching the world go by. Occasionally his ears would perk up as he heard the calling of the voice one more time. After a stop to get some burgers and chicken nuggets they drove to the veterinary office. Ignoring the cold, the caretaker and his mom opened the back of the car and sat there feeding Draco treat after treat. Soon the veterinarian arrived. The caretaker greeted him and talked for a short while as the caretaker’s mom continued to feed him treats and rub his ears. The veterinarian went into the office and a short time later came back out with some things. As Draco was distracted with chicken nuggets the doctor gave him an injection. The food was now gone and the caretaker knelt down next to Draco and petted him softly. “I hate to do this my friend, I really do.” Draco was starting to get sleepy as the caretaker held back his tears as best he could. “I love you, you know that right?” Draco struggled to keep his eyes open as he lay his head down on the caretaker’s hand. “It’s okay buddy, its okay. Go to sleep. I will see you again someday.” Darkness overtook Draco as the caretaker’s words drifted away, only to be replaced by the voice he had heard before. Not that of his owner, or that of his caretaker. But that of his Lord. “Hey big boy. Welcome home.”

9

The Calling by Troy Kechely

Copyright 2011


The Rest of the Story Draco came to me on February 19, 2011. His owner had died in Idaho in December 2010. Much of what I shared in this story is true, though Draco didn’t make it to December but instead ended his watch here on earth over Labor Day weekend. Never had I thought having a dog for only six months would leave such a deep impact on me. He was one of those rare dogs that took a piece of your heart right from the start and kept it after he went away. He is and will always be deeply missed.

Draco: January 2001 –September 3, 2011 As with each year that I write these stories I struggle with the concept but trust God to provide it to me at the right time. Then once the concept is found the next struggle is to somehow put it into a story with ties to Christmas. Though the Christmas theme is not strong it this story I find it present in the fact that Christmas time is a calling, one that we can either choose to follow or ignore. A calling to us to seek out God and the salvation offered through His son Jesus Christ. I pray that this year you will be blessed with a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous and happy New Year.

10

The Calling by Troy Kechely

Copyright 2011


The Calling