Star Power

Star Power

From Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul

Star Power

Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.


“How much longer can I live with this loneliness?” Mom sighed heavily into the phone after her last remaining friend in Florida had died.

For many years, Mom had relied on their daily conversations, filled with laughter, to nourish her soul. She clearly thrived on friendship, but it wouldn’t be easy for her to find another friend. Her days were spent homebound, caring for Dad, who rarely felt the need to talk to anyone.

Mom’s despair gripped my heart, choking off any coherent reply. My words of encouragement felt thin and grew thinner as they traveled a phone line a thousand miles long. After hanging up, Mom’s voice continued to echo in my mind, which was devoid of answers. My thoughts seemed paralyzed, but my feet began to search for a solution as I paced around the house. Eventually, I wandered outside and looked skyward. I asked the heavens to take care of Mom’s needs. Each morning and every night, without fail, I repeated the request.

One night after nearly twoweeks of this prayer vigil,my dog woke me to go outside. She repeatedly disturbed my sleep that night. Finally, as I opened the door for the third time, I witnessed a star shoot across the southern sky.

Earlier that day, one of my favorite childhood songs, “When You Wish Upon a Star,” had played during a television program. The song stayed with me that afternoon as I hummed the tune over and over. Seeing the falling star, I immediately appealed to that action-packed star to deliver the answer to Mom’s needs. It felt like an exclamation point to my prayers.

Meanwhile, down in Florida, during those same two weeks that I pleaded for answers, Mom’s thoughts turned to her dog, who had died three years prior. He had always listened to her when she had needed to talk to someone. She realized his comfort had carried her through other times of grief. A dog was definitely needed. She contacted the animal shelter about rescuing a dog, but Dad didn’t feel that they could afford the seventy-dollar adoption fee. What could she do? She had found the answer, but not the means, to improve her days. Mom drifted back into despair.

Finally, on a Friday morning three days after the falling-star incident, Mom announced with forceful determination to Dad, “I’m taking the grocery money to get fruit, vegetables—and a dog.”

At the animal shelter, her bubble of hope burst. All the dogs were too large for her to handle. Bewildered, she wandered through the shelter’s kennel area, searching for one small set of ears to whisper into.

At the same time, just outside the front door of the shelter, an elderly couple stood frozen with indecision. A few weeks earlier a sweet dog had strayed into their yard. The couple had tried tirelessly, but in vain, to find the owner. They already owned a dog and were unable to keep this one. Still, they found it difficult to release her to the unknown fate that awaited her inside the building.

Then suddenly the man went into action, telling his wife, “I’m going inside to find someone to take this dog home.”

He walked through the kennels, around a man petting a German shepherd and a child peering in at a Labrador retriever. His path continued until he directly faced Mom.

He asked hopefully, “Are you looking for a dog?”

Dispiritedly she replied “Yes, but I want a small one.”

The man smiled warmly and replied, “Come with me. My wife is outside with your dog.”

As Mom walked out the door, she saw the dog: a Boston terrier. She held out her hand. The dog greeted Mom with wiggles and licks. She opened her arms and the dog stepped into her heart. Mom offered to pay the couple.

The woman laughed as she told Mom, “Payment in full is the smile on your face.”

Mom and the couple exchanged names, handshakes and the dog they called Fancy Face.

Later that day, Mom’s voice beamed across the miles as she phoned to tell me about her new furry friend. Mom confided that she had always wanted that breed of dog. She thought this one was perfect in every way, except for the name. I suggested that since the dog had only been called Fancy Face for a few weeks, Mom could certainly give her new dog a new name.

Mom thought about it for a minute, then replied in an excited voice, “Well maybe I will. The dog has very nice markings but most obvious is a partial star on her forehead—”

I broke in, “Mom, you won’t believe this!” I proceeded to tell her the story of my two-week prayer vigil with its shooting-star finale.

“Well,” my mom replied, “that settles it. I’m going to call her Star!”

Mom’s shooting star has continued to shower her with blessings. After twenty-plus years of living in Florida— for Dad’s sake—my father suddenly agreed to move to Colorado where my mom’s sister lives. They have been looking at a home there that has been sitting empty for over two years. Mom thinks it’s been waiting for her. It even has a fenced-in backyard for Star.

When I talk to my mom now, she is bubbly and excited about the future—so different from the despairing woman who just a few short months ago was feeling so unbearably lonely. Now that’s what I call, “Star Power!”

Mary Klitz

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