Tuesday, July 29, 2014

CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: A scaredy-cat dog to the rescue

By AMY NEWMARK, Chicken Soup for the Soul | 7/14/2014

Sarah Retzer’s coddled Golden Retriever mix, named Gus, is not the toughest dog. When the vacuum is on, he runs behind Sarah, shoves his snout between her knees and peers out from that fortified position. He also is afraid of water, after almost drowning as a puppy. For these reasons, Sarah never expected Gus to engage in the kind of canine heroics you sometimes see on the local news, as she wrote in her story “That Day on the Beach,” published in our book on the things we learn from our dogs.

One weekend, Sarah, her husband, their friend Dan and Gus went to the beach. Gus bounded through the sand and enjoyed getting his feet wet, but wasn’t willing to venture any farther.

Sarah Retzer’s coddled Golden Retriever mix, named Gus, is not the toughest dog. When the vacuum is on, he runs behind Sarah, shoves his snout between her knees and peers out from that fortified position. He also is afraid of water, after almost drowning as a puppy. For these reasons, Sarah never expected Gus to engage in the kind of canine heroics you sometimes see on the local news, as she wrote in her story “That Day on the Beach,” published in our book on the things we learn from our dogs.

One weekend, Sarah, her husband, their friend Dan and Gus went to the beach. Gus bounded through the sand and enjoyed getting his feet wet, but wasn’t willing to venture any farther.

Dan, on the other hand, flung himself into the water and swam out. When he surfaced, he was yelling, invigorated by the frigid water. Gus saw this display and panicked. He ran to Sarah and her husband and, when they didn’t react, he turned around, jumped into the water and swam to Dan’s side. Dan realized Gus had come to rescue him, so he swam back to shore escorted by the dog.

When Dan explained what had happened, Sarah was impressed, and a bit chastened. “I felt some guilt at having judged him a sweet but spoiled, freeloading dog,” she wrote. Even though Dan hadn’t needed help, Gus hadn’t known that and the event changed the way Sarah viewed her dog. Today she sees a courageous hero who just happens to be terrified by the vacuum.

Syndicated by Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, online at www.chickensoup.com

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