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