This is an oldie but goodie written by my sister while she was a columnist for The Daily Corinthian in Corinth, MS.
It’s that time of year again where all of my friends on Facebook are sharing pictures of their kids heading back to school. My kids are furry or have a shell. They don’t go to school. They just eat, sleep, and give unconditional love like I’ve never known except from my beautiful parents.
God hasn’t blessed me with human children but I have 4 innocents that I love and care for daily. This story is about how my 3rd pup, Sunny, came into the world and how my turtle came back to me after being released into the wild for a span of 2 years.
This story still gives me great joy! As a quick side note, if you haven’t read my bio, my maiden name is Betty Jo Story, but you can call me Dr. Doolittle.
Paging Dr. Doolittle
By L.A. Story Houry
It is official. My sister, Betty Jo, is now Dr. Doolittle.
I could also picture her as Jim Carrey in the first “Ace Ventura – Pet Detective” film. She would call to her animals and they would all flock to her – perching on her outstretched arms and shoulders and nesting in her hair – as if she is a goddess and she will commune with them and sing Walt Disney movie musical tunes. The heavens will open up and beams of light will shine down on her example of perfect harmony between woman and beast.
It all began last week. My sister has two dogs – Serenity and Wrigley. Betty Jo’s black lab dog (a horse-sized animal), Serenity, went into labor. My sister played mid-wife from about 3:30 a.m. until late into the evening. The result was 12 puppies – seven girls and five boys.
Betty Jo cooed over how cute they all are. I have to agree. Most of them are black, like Serenity, but a two or three are brown and many of them have this slightly protruding lower lip that makes them look like they are pouting. Irresistibly precious!
One of the puppies is a particularly spunky little boy who, from the moment he left the womb, he tried to run out of the pen. Even with his eyes closed, the rascal has made it out several times.
The puppies have to nurse in shifts. The ones who are forced to wait tend to do funny things while they are hungry – like nurse on one of their litter mates’ tiny ears!
It was a miraculous weekend for Betty Jo, as she and her husband, Jim, have increased their family by 12. However, the miracle did not stop there.
A long time ago, my mother was mowing the lawn and a little turtle walked up to her. She almost ran over it with the mower, but spotted the tiny thing at the last minute. She knew Betty Jo was an animal lover and she picked up the turtle, which was only about the size of a quarter, and showed my sister.
Betty Jo fell in love! She called him Melville and raised him. She kept him for nine years as he grew past the size of a Big Mac and into almost the size of a half a bowling ball. Melville was not sure he was a turtle. He would chase Betty Jo’s dogs around the living room. He stretched his neck out to be stroked. For a turtle, he was pretty interesting.
However, two years ago, Betty Jo had to move from the sizeable house she was living in and knew she could no longer keep Melville. She took him down to our parent’s pond and tearfully set him free. Remember: this was two years ago.
Last weekend, the day after Serenity delivered the puppies; my mother was mowing the yard and called to Betty Jo. “Hey, look! I almost ran over that turtle! It’s a big one. Come look!”
Mom went about her mowing and Betty Jo looked at the turtle. As she approached, he did not draw up in his shell. He was walking away … until she started talking to him. “Hi, there,” she said. The turtle turned. He looked familiar. “Melville?” She asked, in disbelief. The turtle began moving faster toward her.
When she picked him up, he stretched out his neck for a stroke. “Melville?” She asked again. She turned him around – Melville had a telltale bump on the backside of his shell from the time someone had once dropped him many years ago. He had the same bump/scar. It was Melville! The prodigal turtle had come home! Her family is now increased by 13!
Miracles happen. Don’t ever doubt it. If anyone is paging Dr. Doolittle these days – I know where she lives.
(L.A. Story Houry is a fiction writer, poet and staff writer for the Daily Corinthian. She is a resident of Glen — where the puppies and turtles all roam — and the skies are not cloudy all day. Her column appears on Wednesdays.)
Just for fun, these are some pictures from that day when Serenity had her puppies and those adorable protruding little lips!