98: Fancy That

98: Fancy That

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: I Can't Believe My Dog Did That!

Fancy That

I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks.

~William Shakespeare

My husband and I were told that we couldn’t have children. We decided to get a dog, a Great Dane named Fancy. She was our “baby” and went everywhere with us, slept by our bed, and was pampered.

Three years later, a miracle occurred. I became pregnant. After celebrating, we started to realize that Fancy would no longer be our baby. She would have competition, and we worried about how she would handle it.

We brought our daughter, Caroline Jeanne, home from the hospital, put her in the bassinet, watched and waited to see what would happen.

Fancy slowly approached the bassinet and looked down into it, inhaled the new smells and became a slave to this new human. She did not exist except to wait on Caroline. If Caroline fussed at all, Fancy would start to pace and soon would come to get one of us. Her mouth would close over one of our hands and she would lead us to Caroline so we would do something.

When Caroline started to crawl, Fancy would lie on the floor and crawl after her. When Caroline had a bottle, if she was on the floor, Fancy would lie behind her, a leg on each side and guard her. Caroline took her first steps by hanging on to Fancy by some loose skin or the collar. Caroline would grab onto her, then Fancy would slowly stand up, taking Caroline with her. As soon as they were steady, Fancy would start moving, taking a step at a time, careful not to knock Caroline over or go too fast.

When Caroline was a toddler, I took her out to play in the yard. The rear of the house had over an acre of land, with fields behind that. On one side were more fields and the other side had a six-foot fence separating the yard from a deep ditch and the Ohio turnpike high above. When Caroline started to go toward the front of the house heading for the driveway and road, I picked her up and carried her to the back yard. I only did that twice. The third time, Fancy beat me there, picked up Caroline by her diaper-covered bottom and carried her to the back yard.

I always watched, but I never really worried as long as Fancy was close to Caroline. Fancy didn’t allow anyone to pick up Caroline except us — not even her grandparents — and Fancy had previously adored them BB (before baby). If someone wanted to hold the baby, we had to pick her up and hand her to them while Fancy watched. Fancy would tolerate that, but paced the entire time until Caroline was back in her bassinet or crib.

Caroline is grown now with a family of her own. Fancy has long since departed this earth, but we always remember her in our hearts. We still wonder sometimes what would have happened if someone driving on the turnpike had looked down into our yard and seen a Great Dane with a toddler in its mouth. Fancy that!

~Bonita Chambers

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