You Have No Messages

You Have No Messages

From Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul

You Have No Messages

We were visiting our daughter when we adopted our Boston terrier, Tad. An adorable puppy, just three months old, he became the family’s center of attention. Each morning, as soon as he heard my daughter Kayla moving around downstairs, he had to be taken down for playtime before she left for work. When she came home from work, we had him waiting for her at the door.

After three weeks we left for home. On the drive, we let Tad talk to Kayla on the phone each night. Once home, every time we called Kayla or she called us, we always put Tad on. He scratched the phone and listened intently and tried to look into the phone to see her.

One Saturday, Kayla called while we were out. She left a message. Tad was standing beside me when I pressed the button to listen to the message. He listened to her talking and cocked his head, grinning at me. I played it again for him.

A few days later, I was taking my shower when I heard the answering machine come on and Kayla leave a message. I thought it was strange when I heard her message repeat and the machine announce, “End of messages.” A few seconds later Kayla’s message began yet again.

Wondering what was going on, I climbed out of the shower, wrapped a towel around myself and headed into the living room. There stood Tad, listening to the answering machine. I stopped and watched. When the message finished, he stood up with his feet against the edge of the low table, reached over with one paw and slapped the answering machine. The message came on again. He dropped back on the floor and listened happily.

I told him “no,” and distracted him from the answering machine while I erased the message. A few days later I was in the kitchen when I heard, “You have no messages.” I headed for the living room. Tad had started the machine again. I watched as he cocked his head and looked at the answering machine. Then he stood with his feet on the edge of the table and tapped the button again: “You have no messages.” He walked around to the other side of the table and repeated the process with the same results. This really irritated him. He returned to his first position, took both paws and began slapping and clawing the answering machine. It repeated: “You have no messages.”

I said, “Tad, leave the answering machine alone.” He looked at me and then turned back to the answering machine, digging at it furiously. When it repeated the same message, he ran to me and then ran back to the answering machine, waiting for me to do something. I realized he wanted to hear Kayla talking, but I had erased themessage.

I called Kayla that night and asked her to call Tad and leave him a message. I explained that Tad had listened to her message, but I had erased it. When he tried to listen to it again and didn’t hear hermessage, he had been unhappy.

Kayla called Tad and left a specialmessage for himthat he can play and listen to whenever he wants to hear Kayla’s voice. We call it puppy love, twenty-first-century style!

Zardrelle Arnott

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