Sandy, I Can’t

Sandy, I Can’t

From A 6th Bowl of Chicken Soup for the Soul

Sandy, I Can’t

No matter how little money or how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich.

Louis Sabin

As long as Jeremy could remember, he had wanted a dog. For his eleventh birthday, his parents gave him a large box that wiggled and yapped.

“A dog! I know it’s a dog!”

Jeremy hurriedly opened the loosely wrapped container and out tumbled a wagging, licking cocker spaniel whose tail was flipping from side to side so quickly that its whole rump seemed to jump from the floor.

“Is it a boy or a girl?” Jeremy asked, as the puppy tried to climb into his lap, lick his face and chew the box all at the same time.

“It’s a girl.”

“She’s beautiful! Her color reminds me of the sand on a beach. I’m going to call her Sandy.”

One of their very favorite times together was when Jeremy would ride his bike in the park with Sandy running alongside. She would stop, sniff, toss her floppy ears and then zoom ahead of Jeremy. She would then wait for him to catch up and then zoom off again. She just thought this was the greatest game. When Jeremy stopped and got off his bike, she would then run up to him, barking happily and then sit looking at him with her tongue hanging out. Sandy always looked so silly Jeremy would have to laugh. She then would tumble into his lap proudly as if she had just told a very funny joke.

A year went by. That summer, at the end of a busy day swimming at the beach, Jeremy complained to his mother that he had a headache and stiff neck. The next morning, Jeremy was worse. He could not get out of bed. When the doctor was called, the stiffness had gotten so bad he could hardly move.

“I’m afraid Jeremy has polio,” the doctor said.

Jeremy spent three months in the hospital. When he finally came home, he had a brace on one of his legs and needed crutches to walk. Sandy was so happy to see him, she refused to leave his side.

“Every time Sandy saw someone ride by on a bike, she would bark and run back and forth in the yard, then she would whine and whine,” his father told Jeremy.

“Well, I can never ride a bike now,” Jeremy half whispered.

The next morning, Jeremy limped out to the garage with his crutches to look at his Schwinn-Flyer, all red and chrome and shiny. Sandy immediately began to jump and yap and wag her tail.

“No, I can’t Sandy. I can’t,” Jeremy cried. Sandy just whined. She did not understand.

Every day after that, Sandy would run out to the garage and back to Jeremy, barking and wagging her tail.

Sandy did not understand the word “can’t.”

Finally, Jeremy said, “Okay, okay, Sandy, but my leg is so weak.”

As Jeremy climbed on the bike, Sandy barked happily, ran furiously around the bicycle and wagged her tail like a fan. Jeremy started to ride, then suddenly fell! He started to cry, and immediately Sandy ran up to him where he lay sprawled on the ground and started to lick his face. His crying turned to laughing because Sandy’s tongue tickled him.

“Okay, I’ll try again!” The second time, he fell again but not as hard. The third and fourth time, he fell and started to laugh.

“Sandy, now I’m getting mad!”

Finally, after a number of tries, he did not fall.

Sandy sat on the ground and if she could talk, she would probably have said, “I knew you could do it.”

It was a slow process but after three months Jeremy was slowly riding his bicycle again. After another four months he was walking with a cane and no brace on his leg.

Sandy never knew that she was one of the main reasons that today Jeremy is a normal grown-up who does not even limp. She was only a dog and did not understand.

Or did she?

Lawrence A. Kross

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