Henry: A Little Girl’s LoveCarlee was six when her parents gave her the dog she had named Henry.Carlee had been sneaking into the dog kennel to smuggle the month old puppy up to her roomeach night where she tucked him carefully in bed. This was never allowed as the dogs were champion beagles, bred and sold to dog owners whowould train them for hunting and show. Her parents’ beagles weren’t bred to be pets for littlegirls. However, her father had seen her love for Henry and convinced Carlee’s mother to allowthe child this particular puppy despite the fact he was a perfect specimen and so they lovinglypromised their daughter that Henry would be hers. Carlee and Henry became inseparable and her love for him grew each day. But there were timeswhen Carlee found Henry lying on her bed staring out the window as though watching forsomeone to arrive. She found it odd but easily forgot the staring as she loved Henry with thepassion only a young girl has for her first dog. Henry was six months old when one sunny, summer day an elderly couple came to the kennelsto buy a dog. They brought their grandson, who sat silently as they talked to Carlee’s parents. Carlee, being the little eavesdropper she was, managed to slip within hearing range and heardthe grandparents explain how the boy’s parents had been killed in a car accident along with histwo brothers. They talked about how the boy never spoke, didn’t play and simply sat staring intospace. Their doctor suggested they get him a dog and had recommended his friends who raisedbeautiful, champion beagles.Carlee’s father explained the dogs were expensive but it didn’t matter to the grandparents whoonly cared about doing everything possible to help their hurting, broken grandson. A tear slid down Carlee’s cheek as she thought how horrible it would be to lose her parents,brothers, sisters or Henry. And so she took Henry by the leash and went to become the boy’sfriend.His name was David.David didn’t tell Carlee but she knew from eavesdropping that he was curious of the puppies.And he didn’t resist when she took him by the hand and led him to see every single puppy on theproperty.
Carlee talked and David listened. Carlee explained how to care for the puppy that David wouldchooseand how to teach the puppy the tricks she had Henry perform. Carlee and David spent theentire day playing with the dogs, and David listened intently to Carlee but never spoke.Carlee liked David. Carlee liked anyone that let her talk nonstop, but there was more to her liking David. She couldfeel how sad he was, how much he needed a friend. So she let David hold Henry’s leash, brushHenry, cuddle him close, and when the two children lay on the blanket that Carlee’s motherspread on the lawn for a picnic, Carlee let Henry snuggle closest to David.The evening came and finally David’s grandparents insisted it was time to choose a dog and gohome. David just shook his head and refused to take one of the puppies. David’s grandmotherwept into her handkerchief and his grandfather’s shoulders sagged with failure.Carlee watched them all closely then hugged her new friend, wishing he’d choose a dog to loveas she loved Henry.David knelt and wrapped his arms around Carlee’s beloved Henry, hugging him close whileCarlee’s eyes widened in shock at what she heard.Carlee heard the softest of whispers.“Goodbye, Henry. I love you.” It was David who whispered and Carlee’s heart leapt within her as she stared down at Henrywho pressed tightly against the boy. Carlee’s heart shattered as she suddenly realized that allthose times when Henry stared out the window, he had actually been waiting for the boy hedidn’t know to come.A lump formed in Carlee’s throat and she thought quickly. If she remained silent no one wouldever know David wanted Henry. No one would know that David had spoken. No one would takeher beloved Henry from her. David’s grandparents walked to their car in silence, David stood on the porch looking at Henryin silence, and Carlee held Henry’s leash in silence. Her eyes met David’s and he smiled thenplaced his hand over hers and squeezed it in friendship.It was then that Carlee’s heart was set free.“If I give you Henry, you have to talk!” Carlee exclaimed tears rolling down her face.“You have to talk to Henry and to everyone else. You understand?”
David nodded.“No! You can’t just nod,” she commanded, “You have to talk.”Carlee jabbed a small finger into David’s chest.“You have to tell them you want Henry,” she continued. “Henry needs to be talked to and youhave to go to school and learn.“Henry needs a smart owner not a dumb one.”David’s grandparents hurried back to the porch to see what caused Carlee to be upset.David turned to his grandparents and drew in a deep breath. In a rough but low voice he said, “Iwant Henry.”David’s grandmother sobbed aloud.David’s voice wavered but grew stronger, “I’ll go to school, and I’ll talk. I’ll do anything.”“Henry is Carlee’s dog,” his grandfather protested, “choose another.” “No, he needs Henry and Henry wants David!” spoke Carlee with the authority of a child on amission. “But you have to bring David and Henry here every month, so I can check Henry andcheck David too.I get something. I get to be the checker.”Carlee nodded firmly as she made her demands.Henry went home with David who continued to speak, learned to grieve and through the yearsfound joy again.Carlee went silently to her room where she cried into her pillow even after her father and motherhad lay down on each side of her stroking her hair as they whispered how proud they were andhow much they loved her. David and Henry came to visit Carleeonce a month for a while.Thenthe visits became morefrequent until David was as familiar with Carlee’s home as she was with his. Carlee never chose another dog for her own because her heart still loved Henry even thoughshe’d given him to David and David always understood his friend’s great sacrifice.
It was Carlee who held David’s hand the day they buried his grandfather, and it was David whotaught Carlee to drive with Henry riding in the backseat. Carlee was who David asked to theprom, and they stood, hand in hand, both crying unashamedly the day they lay Henry to rest atage twelve. The day Carlee’s father escorted her down the aisle to be married, it was David who waited atthe altar. And it was Carlee who stood on the tarmac waiting for David when he returned fromthe Gulf War. He saw her standing in the sunlight just as he had first seen her that day so longago. She stood smiling, waving, and holding their son, Henry, who one day would be told andwould understand he was named for more than just a dog.He was named for kindness, friendship, sacrifice and love.Please check out the E-Book Store for more fabulous books.http://www.shortstoriescorner.com/e-book-storehttp://www.shortstoriescorner.com