The Puppy Farm

I recently told you about my wonderful childhood dog.   (See FLUFFY,  OR HOW I GOT MY DOG,  Nov 1, 2016)   Sadly there is more to tell.

I’m sure that today’s child rearing experts would advise you to tell your kids the truth,  no matter how painful.  But I suspect my folks practiced the old school kind of parenting.

When I was ten Fluffy was hit by a car.  The awful thing was I saw it happen,  I was coming home from school when she ran into the street towards me.

I don’t know why Fluffy was off leash that day, or if somehow she had gotten out of the house alone.  I only remember the sound of screeching brakes on our usually quiet street,  my beloved dog lying motionless near the wheel of a car,  and my mother and a visiting uncle kneeling in the street trying to console me.

Eventually they led me back to the house  and told me the vet was taking Fluffy to a puppy farm in the country where she would get well.

I never saw Fluffy again and although we never got another dog,  we did have a succession of wonderful pussycats.

Over the years I must have wondered if there was something a little fishy about that puppy farm story – whether city dogs who get hit by cars really do go to the country for rehab.  But I never questioned my parents because they were grownups,  and I knew grownups never tell lies.

And now my parents are gone and my uncle is gone, and surely the vet is gone too,  and so there’s no one left who can tell me what really happened on a shady Bronx street one afternoon over half-a-century ago.

And so I choose to believe that Fluffy did go to that farm in the country,  and for all I know she’s there still.  For in my mind’s eye I still see her running through the fields –  the Elysian puppy fields.

Dana Susan Lehrman


  • I remember visiting a niece and inquired where the hamster was because the cage was empty. One of her sons proceeded to tell me that the hamster was away on vacation. My niece then whispered to me that she didn't have the heart to tell them that their beloved hamster died and that she planned to purchase a new one that looked just like it.

  • What a sad story, but beautiful illustration of our culture's discomfort with death and dying. Thank you for reminding me of how important the emotions of grief and fear are in my own life.

  • This poem is framed and hanging over my desk. The structure wasn't retained in the copy and paste but you can google it:

    My Good Death

    I will find myself waist deep in high summer grass. The humming
    shock of the golden light. And I will hear them before I see
    them and know right away who is bounding across the field to meet
    me. All my good dogs will come then, their wet noses
    bumping against my palms, their hot panting, their rough faithful
    tongues. Their eyes young and shiny again. The wiry scruff of
    their fur, the unspeakable softness of their bellies, their velvet ears
    against my cheeks. I will bend to them, my face covered with
    their kisses, my hands full of them. In the grass I will let them knock
    me down.

  • When I was about 11 my parents sent my problem dog to a farm "where he would be happier." I would frequently ask to visit him but somehow it never happened. I totally believed them!

Leave a Comment