Dudley was an old dog.
For many years he had loved his humans, but after youth was passed, his love was no longer noticed. Once, when play had got too rough, he had broken his leg. Dudley did not see a Vet. “Too expensive,” his humans said. That year, they had a holiday in Spain.
Eventually the bone healed, but his running days were over and he limped along on a crooked leg. Food was sporadic, and of poor quality. Dudley’s teeth constantly ached. They were green with decay, his gums often scarlet with infections and abscesses, and he knew he smelled. On bad days he lay very still, pain thumping through his too-thin body, and he would whimper quietly, willing the pain to pass. “He really should see a Vet, but they’re so expensive!” his humans said. That year, they bought a new car.
And now it was Christmas. No one wants an old, half-blind, smelly dog around the house, so Dudley was shown the door. Frost chilled the air and he lay outside the back door, whimpering all day and on through the night. Next morning his loyalty was rewarded with a good kick. Desperately thirsty, and facing another day without food or drink, Dudley left home.
He knew the canal was nearby, and being so very thin he slipped easily through the fence and approached the water. Disaster! With poor sight and numb with cold, Dudley fell into the canal. Rescued as a floating corpse he was not dead! but he seems to have forgotten everything. After several days with a Vet I brought Dudley home to give him his best Christmas ever, because he probably will not see another one. My reward is his trust and love. Is anything more precious?
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