WAITING AT THE DOOR
My grandmother became a widow
in 1970. Shortly after that, we went to the animal shelter to pick out
a puppy to keep her company. Grandma decided on a little terrier that had
a reddish-brown spot above each eye. Because of these spots, the dog was
promptly named Penny.
Grandma and Penny quickly became
very attached to each other, but that attachment grew much stronger about
three years later when Grandma had a stroke. Grandma could no longer work,
so when she came home from the hospital, she and Penny were constant companions.
After her stroke, it became a
real problem for Grandma to let Penny in and out because the door was at
the bottom of a flight of stairs. So a mechanism using a rope and pulley
was installed from the back door to a handle at the top of the stairs.
Grandma just had to pull the handle to open and close the door. If the
store was out of Penny's favorite dog food, Grandma would make one of us
cook Penny browned beef with diced potatoes in it. I can remember teasing
my grandmother that she loved that dog better than she loved her family.
As the years passed, Grandma and
Penny became inseparable. Grandma's old house could be filled to the brim
with people, but if Grandma went to take her nap, Penny walked along beside
her and stayed by her side until she awoke. As Penny aged, she could no
longer jump up on the bed to lie next to Grandma, so she lay on the rug
beside the bed. If Grandma went into the bathroom, Penny would hobble along
beside her, wait outside the door and accompany her back to the bed or
chair. Grandma never went anywhere without her faithful companion by her
The time came when both my grandmother
and Penny's health were failing fast. Penny couldn't get around very well,
and Grandma had been hospitalized several times. My uncle and I lived with
Grandma, so Penny was never left alone, even when Grandma was in the hospital.
During these times, Penny sat at the window looking out for the car-bringing
Grandma home and would excitedly wait at the door when Grandma came through
it. Each homecoming was a grand reunion between the two.
On Christmas Day in 1985, Grandma
was again taken to the hospital. Penny, as usual, sat watching out the
window for the car-bringing Grandma home. Two mornings later when the dog
woke up, she couldn't seem to work out the stiffness in her hips as she
usually did. The same morning, she began having seizures. At age fifteen,
we knew it was time. My mother and aunt took her to the veterinarian and
stayed with her until the end.
Now the big dilemma was whether
to tell Grandma while she was still in the hospital or wait. The decision
was made to tell her while she was in the hospital because when we pulled
up at the house, the first thing Grandma would look for was her beloved
Penny watching out the window and then happily greeting her at the door.
Grandma shed some tears but said she knew that it had to be done so Penny
That night while still in the
hospital, Grandma had a massive heart attack. The doctors frantically worked
on her but could not revive her. After fifteen years of loving companionship,
Grandma and Penny passed away within a few hours of each other. God had
it all worked out - Penny was waiting at the door when Grandma came Home.
Author: Barbara J. Crocker
Music "The Rainbow"mid
Used with permission Bruce