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    Posted March 18, 2014 by
    Kansas City, Missouri

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    A Heart of Gold


    After the death of my dog Zane, I was so lonely and wanted to have another soul here with me in this lonely house that was once so alive. Neil Young sang about a “Heart of Gold”, and I finally found one with four legs.


    I went on a quest for another dog, and it led me to many shelters in my area, and I wasn’t sure who or what I would find. After test driving many dogs, none seemed to be the right fit. Finally, after about seven days of searching, I went to PetCo on a Saturday. I looked at several dogs, and was ready to go home, when I noticed a crate containing a little pup with a black face and a little white stripe on his muzzle looking up at me. I asked “Who is this one?” I was told “Oh that is Lincoln, and he doesn’t miss a thing..”


    My ears perked up, because I knew that an attentive dog would be easy to train. The little pup was so cute, and I asked for him to be let out of the crate so I could check him out.


    As Lincoln was let out of the crate, I sat down on the floor, and he instantly curled up in my lap. He was six months old, and very loving. Lincoln was a beautiful Boxer/Shepherd mix pup. He had a golden coat with white sox on his feet, a speckled chest, and touches of black on his muzzle, and a little white “tail light”.


    I still wasn’t sure about this dog, so I took him on a secure leash for a check-out walk around the store.. He tugged on the leash very hard, and I thought maybe an outside walk would be better..


    We went outside the store, and walked around a bit. I noticed a bench just outside the door to the store, so I sat down on it, and Lincoln jumped up, and sat beside me on the bench. I hugged him with my right arm, and said the same prayer I had said before I took Zane as my pet.. “Dear Lord, if this is the right dog for me, please give a sign..” At that VERY moment, the leash holding Lincoln DROPPED from his neck, and he ran off at full speed, around the corner of the building.. I was completely mortified, thinking I had just lost a dog I hadn’t even adopted yet..


    I wasn’t sure what to do, but I knew his name was Lincoln, so I called him back.. To my amazement. the little dog came running back to me from around the back of the building, and sat at my feet, wagging his tail, as if to say “Is there anything else I can do for you?” I was so used to a dog totally running away, and never coming back, (Zane) that I was stunned when this one actually returned when called.


    God had showed me again that HE was in control, and that I was now blessed with a wonderful dog that was something outside of whatever I had thought was possible for me. I went back into the store, and told the shelter people that this dog was going home with me. I paid the fee, and had him micro-chipped. I took him to my van, he jumped in, settled down in the back seat and was fast asleep before we had even gone five miles towards home. I thought “What a cool, mellow pup!”..


    Lincoln and I were soon the best of friends. He truly loved everyone he came in contact with.. People, squirrels, birds, cats, dogs, you name it, he was an instant friend. He was so trainable and smart. We were watching television one night, and he saw another dog on the screen.. He went around to the back of the television set to see how the dog got in there..


    I easily trained him to respond to just pointing commands instead of verbal cues. He would sit, bark, shut-up, shake hands, jump into a chair, or out of one, respond to the television, or just about anything with just a point of my finger..


    One night, he rescued a tiny kitten out of the bushes around our house by taking it by it’s neck , and gently placing it at my feet as I sat on the porch of our house. This dog loved everyone!


    We remained together exactly four years to the day that we found each other.. St. Patrick’s Day.. I had planned a special day for us, including a trip to PetCo for a new, better fitting collar, and some great new toys. It was my day off, and I wanted to devote it entirely to him. The night before, I had put him outside for his nightly poop and potty on his chain. I was talking to my sister on the phone, and left him out without supervision for about half an hour. When I came out to bring him in, he was gone.. All I saw was his collar at the end of his chain in the backyard.


    A neighbor I had not known to this point was so helpful in trying to locate Lincoln. I did not know it, but as soon as he hurdled the fence in my yard, the first person he encountered was my neighbor, Kristine, across the street. She tried to talk to him, and catch him, but he ran off, and that was the last report of my sweet dog forever. Kristine went into action, tried her best to publish ads about my missing dog, and generally, keep me sane during a period when I was losing my mind. Without her help, I would have lost it completely. Kristine has since become a good friend, so I guess this whole ordeal does have a good outcome..


    That began a year long hunt for my wonderful dog; I never saw him again, and I have cried more tears for him than I have cried for anyone in my life, even more than when my mother died.


    I truly know how hard it is to lose someone, and not know the final outcome.. That is the hardest thing.. To lose a “Heart of Gold”.. Lincoln, wherever you are, I will forever love you..


    Please share this tale of my love for Lincoln, and hopefully, someone will adopt a shelter animal, and find one that has a "heart of gold"..

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