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  • Writer's pictureDianne Hammontree


Even though my Aunt Abe and Uncle Ken lived two thousand miles away in Oregon, I felt led to spend a week with them every year. Uncle Ken had been valiantly dealing with Parkinson’s disease for twelve years and Aunt Abe, at eighty years old, was his caregiver and was facing cancer surgery.

Aunt Abe said to me, on my second day of this visit, “Tomorrow is my birthday and I want a dog, but Ken says NO.” Well, I marched into Uncle Ken’s den and said, “Tomorrow is your wife’s eightieth birthday, and she wants a dog. Keep in mind, before you answer, that she has devoted her life to you and your three sons and has asked for very little. She cares for all your needs every day of every year---WHAT SAY YE?”

Less than five minutes later, Aunt Abe was in the car with me, and we were headed for the dog shelter. I do believe God placed Bell in this shelter one day earlier, so that when Abe arrived, she would be met with this beautiful animal with kisses and a desire to please.

Back home we found that Bell seldom growled and approached all creatures, from insect to human with interest, affection, and trust. My aunt’s face softened with pleasure and love when she was with her pup. Bell sat with my uncle while he received physical and occupational therapy and was on his lap as he napped in his Lazy Boy chair. Bell knew full well that her most immediate future held dinner, a short hike, playing ball and snuggle time. She whined with tail thumping excitement, as Abe and Ken laughed and wondered what life was like before Bell.


My walking buddy’s name is Bell. She’s quite a cheerful pup.

We leave her house and wave farewell, stroll down the hill...and up.

Enjoying the sights, her, and I, “So much to see!” we say.

White clouds, green trees, and passersby...we bid them all “Good day!”

Close to my side Bell walks with me, sauntering down to end.

Hiking along with smiles and glee, Bell’s the best strolling friend.

At the end is where we stop to pause, our eyes lock, me, and pup.

We know our joy has ended cause--- I need Bell to drag me up.

She’s eager to go on our stroll, I think she’s really swell.

Heave ever uphill with a pull, AMAZING pup named Bell.

Bell couldn’t change Ken’s Parkinson’s or make Abe cancer free, yet this one small, essentially free addition to their home changed the atmosphere. Bell couldn’t change their past, but she could rewrite their future.


Dianne Hammontree, Secretary of Homeward Bound Dog Shelter


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