Harry and George

Harry and George

From Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul

Harry and George

Every year, starting on the day after Christmas, my sister and I looked forward to the fifteenth of June. That was the day our parents loaded up the car, and we moved to a ramshackle cottage on the bay for the rest of the summer. It was a child’s idea of heaven on earth—late nights fishing on the wharf; barefoot days in bathing suits, sunning on boats; meals on a big, screened porch under lazy ceiling fans. Every summer seemed better than the last— until the summer we lost George.

George and his brother Harry were golden retrievers, and you never saw one without the other, whether they were crashing through tall saw grass or chasing bait-stealing herons off neighboring wharves. When they did get separated, Harry would bark until George found him. We all loved those dogs as if they were our own, but they really belonged to an old salt known to everyone as “the captain.”

One afternoon during this particular summer, Harry and George lay down for a nap under some hydrangea bushes. After an hour or so Harry woke up, but George didn’t. All the children, most of the mothers and even a few of the fathers could be seen sniffling and wiping away the tears when they heard Harry barking for his brother. The captain was almost as pitiful as Harry. Finally, Harry gave up barking altogether. Unfortunately when he quit barking, he also stopped eating. He wouldn’t touch dog food, ignored his favorite doggy treats, even turned his nose up at a cheeseburger.

My sister and I were so worried that on the fifth night of Harry’s fast, as we ate our supper of fried speckled trout, corn steaming on the cob and fresh tomatoes, I asked Mama what to do. She said to pray for an angel to help Harry.

That night I lay in bed under the slumber-inducing, back-and-forth breeze of an oscillating fan and pondered Harry’s plight. I was pretty sure that angels dealt only with people and had certainly never heard of them involving themselves in dogs’ problems. But just in case, I prayed myself to sleep: Please, God, send an angel to help Harry.

The next morning after breakfast Mama gave me a sausage with instructions to take it to Harry. I found him and the captain sitting morosely on the end of their wharf. I waved the sausage under Harry’s nose, but he didn’t blink. There’s never an angel around when you need one, I thought. Harry got up and started toward the house. His huge head was so low it almost dragged on the wharf boards, and I could tell he was weak from not eating. The captain, watching Harry make his slow progress to the house, shook his old head and sighed.

A sudden splash in the water made us turn to see what kind of fish it was. It wasn’t a fish, but the smiling face of a dolphin that broke the dark water, and even the captain had to smile back at her. She made a little dolphin squeak. A deep growl made me look up toward the house. Harry was on the deck, his ears all perked up. The dolphin rolled and splashed—as all dolphins do—then did something you often see trained dolphins do, but rarely get to see a wild bay dolphin do. Whoosh! Up she went like a rocket, silver and shining against the deep blue of the summer sky. The captain and I were clapping and cheering, we were so overcome at the sight. The next thing I knew, Harry came flying down the wharf barking his big, golden head off. When he was finally quiet, the dolphin looked the dog straight in the eye, said something in dolphin and swam away.

In all the excitement, I had dropped Mama’s sausage. I watched in delight as Harry gobbled it up. The captain and I took him back to the house and fed him a giant bowl of dog food, then loaded him up with doggy treats.

The next morning Harry was waiting, and sure enough, the dolphin came by. She blew air out of the top of her shining, gray head and smiled her dolphin smile. Harry began to bark like he had the day before and got a quick dolphin reply. Then off she went again, a smiling silver rocket.

Although I heard that the dolphin returned to visit Harry all through that summer, I never saw her again. But it hardly matters, since it was her very first visit that set Harry on the mend. When I told my sister the story, she decided that this qualified the dolphin as a pet and decided to name her Fishy. But I knew better: I called her Angel.

Margaret P. Cunningham

You are currently enjoying a preview of this book.

Sign up here to get a Chicken Soup for the Soul story emailed to you every day for free!

Please note: Our premium story access has been discontinued (see more info).

view counter

More stories from our partners