He Grew Big Enough!

Friday, November 6, 2009

I was so pleasantly surprised to see a second on-line newspaper article about the policeman in Cape who helped rescue and save so many dogs. I thought the one by his daughter was so sweet. After the second one I had to write and tell you about the dog that my mother received from Marys' father, Officer Volkerding. If she were here she would be telling this one herself.

My dad passed away from cancer in 1963. My mother passed away in 1989. She was terrified for all of us to live by ourselves in the country after my dad died. She depended so much on my father for our safety. She never had a job. My dad did not want her to work, He farmed 75 acres of land that they bought when they got married. He was an old-fashioned kinda man believing that a women should take care of the home and family. She was very happy to do that for our family. We all were so sad when he passed away and we missed him so much.

The Dog That Won My Mothers' Heart

My mother never learned how to drive a car while they were married. She got her drivers license about a year after my dad died. She had a friend that she visited quite often in Cape that lived about two blocks away from the Volkerdings. They went to school together. On one of her visits she talked to her friend about how scared she was to be out on the farm with just her and us kids. Her friend knew that Officer Volkerding had a lot of dogs and said that he would give them to people who he knew would give them a good home. Her and her friend walked down the road to see if he would have a dog that he thought would grow big enough that would help her to feel safe on the farm. Officer Volkerding invited them to walk up to the dog pen so he could show her the dogs that he had. She said she would never forget the size of that dog pen. He had a lot of dogs to choose from. There were all sizes and shapes. He pointed out this small puppy that was off to itself in the corner. He told her that that dog would probably be a pretty good sized dog when it grew up based on the size of his paws. He said he thought he would make a really good watch dog. She had never had a dog growing up, nor did my mom and dad while they were married. She said she just remembered saying to herself "that little thing is going to make me feel safe" but she quickly fell in love with that little puppy. She told him that she would trust his judgment and she asked him how much he wanted for him. He told her that all he wanted was a promise to be kind to him, to love him, and if he got sick to promise to take care of him. He also asked her to promise him if the dog didn't work out for her, to bring him back to him. He told her if she ever had any questions to call and he would do the best he could to answer them. She gave him a handshake and a promise and she carried the dog to her car.

She took the dog home and of course us children were so excited. We found a box to make him a bed. She said she thought "this isn't as hard as I thought it was going to be"....then the night time crying started. She said It was worse than having a newborn child. She said she thought "what was I thinking, what have I gotten myself into"?. All of us stayed up all night with him the first night he was there. The second night she ended up calling Officer Volkerding to ask him for suggestions on how to help him (really her) make it through the nights. He told her to fill a water bottle with warm water and put it under a blanket. Then he told her to get a ticking clock and put it under the blanket and lay him real close to it. That, along with her hand hanging in the box every night, did the trick. We named the puppy Clyde. We had an uncle with that name and we thought the puppy looked like him, so that was his name.

As the months passed, Clyde grew bigger and bigger. By the time he was a year old he weighed 120 pounds. Mom raised chickens and Clyde never tried to bother any of them. But I can say that come Sunday dinner, fried chicken was his favorite food. He ate more than all of us put together.

That dog would not let anyone (including some of our own family members) come within 10 feet of our house. He was fearless. Everyone that came to visit us would drive up the driveway and honk their horn. She would have to get Clyde and lock him in the bedroom before anyone would get out of their car and come in the house. If you listened close enough you could hear him growling the whole time they were there.

She always took Clyde with her when she drove to visit her friend. She would always drive by the Volkerdings house and show them how big Clyde was getting. It always amazed her that Officer Volkerding would walk right up to Clyde with no fear and scratch him under his neck and Clyde would let him. He never ever growled at him no matter how many times she visited him. She always told us how glad she was that she took that dog that Officer Volkerding chose for her. He knew it would be such a good watch dog. Clyde became such a loyal and loving pet and watch dog. We couldn't ask for a better dog to watch over us growing up.

I now live in that country home that I grew up in. Clyde lived to be 15 years old. He was one of our family. He is buried under an old oak tree here at our farm. He did the job that Officer Volkerding told her he could do. We had other dogs after Clyde died, but he was the special one. I think that was because he got his start from a special man. I often wonder what our lives would have been like without that little puppy that grew up and took our fears away. Mary, I think of your dad often also. My mother told the story about how she got Clyde to anyone who would listen.

I too will visit you at your upcoming thrift store. Mary I wish you and your friend Rain all the luck in the world. I love the name you guys picked out for your store 'For Wags and Whisker's". Follow in your fathers footsteps and I truly believe your dreams will come true. Even though he is gone from this earth he is always looking down on you. And I'm sure if you look to the Heaven's you will always catch a glimpse of him. Think of all the dogs in Heaven with your dad. I can see my mom and Clyde every now and then. That brings a huge smile to my face. It can't get any better than that!

As the lady said in her story. I look forward to hearing more stories of who got the dogs from your father. He couldn't have made a better choice for our family. Clyde, we still love and miss you after all these years. And to Officer Volkerding, you deserve more praise than you will ever know.

From my mother, and our family

May God Bless You And Your Friend.

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