44: Because of Kasey

44: Because of Kasey

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Dog

Because of Kasey

Fun fact: Shelby was named the 45th Skippy Dog Hero of the Year for saving a family from carbon monoxide poisoning by waking them up and getting them safely outside.

“Hey, I like your car!” Karen said, as the new hybrid pulled smoothly into the driveway.

She walked up to its front door, smiling, as her husband, Paul, rolled down the window. “I know! Thanks. It is so quiet and smooth, I love it,” he said, and then pulled into the garage.

After they shut all of the garage doors, they walked inside where Kasey, their six-year-old Golden Retriever, greeted them with a smile.

“Kasey hasn’t even memorized the sound of the motor yet, with it being so quiet.” Paul grinned as he set down his things from work and gave Kasey a good scratch behind the ears.

Kasey had come into their lives as a six-week-old puppy, adopted from a neighbor who was moving and had an unwanted litter. Their daughter, Julie, adopted one of the puppies and gave it to her boyfriend, Chris. Chris and Julie taught Kasey good manners, took her on duck-hunting trips, and taught her to retrieve. But college rolled around, and they had to leave. Kasey would have to go to Chris’s parents’ house and live outside.

Karen could not stand the thought of Kasey being outside — even if it was in a big yard with shade trees. After a week, she brought Kasey home to live with her forever. Kasey loved their new routine of rides to the bank (for dog treats), the groomer’s, coffee-shop patios. Kasey grew into a beautiful dog who never exhibited annoying behaviors; she never even barked.

Except that night. As they ate dinner and talked about their day at work, Kasey kept coming up to them and staring right into their eyes. “Go lie down,” Paul said. “I’m trying to eat.” Kasey turned away and put her chin on Karen’s lap, staring.

“What do you want? More food?” Karen asked, getting up to pour more kibble in the metal dish. Kasey sniffed, and then walked away.

“Kasey, no! Stop scratching your toenails on the brand-new hardwood floor!” Karen groaned from the couch after dinner. Paul and Karen turned their heads to Kasey, who was digging at the floor. Kasey ran to the garage door, whimpering.

“What does she want? She always goes out the front door,” Paul mused, flipping the newspaper.

“I have no clue. I’ll let her out the front. Come on, Kasey!” Karen exclaimed with her hands up. As soon as she let Kasey out and was back on the couch, Kasey started scratching on the front door. “She is driving me insane!”

Kasey’s strange (and annoying) behavior continued all the way to bedtime. As they crawled into bed, Kasey started barking hysterically. At that moment, they knew something was up, since she normally never barked. So, they crawled out of bed and followed Kasey, still barking, down the stairs, across the kitchen and to the garage door. They opened the door, flipped on the lights, and gasped. Their hybrid car was still on, leaking extremely dangerous carbon monoxide!

They hurried to turn off the car, and then opened the garage doors and windows to air it out. Paul had thought the car was off because of the quiet motor. This car just so happened to have the new key technology in which if the keys were near the car, the car stayed on. When he drove their old car, Paul had made it a habit to put the keys on the windshield when the car was parked in the garage so he wouldn’t lose them. When he pulled in earlier that evening, he had tossed his keys up on the windshield as he had with the old car.

After everyone was safe, Kasey finally fell asleep, satisfied that her job was done well.

Now, fifteen years later, as Paul and Karen’s granddaughter, I think about what could have happened. I am certain that Kasey saved their lives and impacted generations to come, like me.

Because of Kasey, this story has a happy ending.

~Emily Huseman, age 13

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