I am so excited today to present Fluffybutts Family’s first submission for Forget-Me-Not Friday. Lori D. Marchell Carlsen from Loriginal Designs: Quantum Creativity, here: https://free13644.wordpress.com/ submitted the story of Č’ert Dog, a beautiful black English Labrador Retriever.
My Father’s Greatest Gift
by: L.D. Marchell (pseudonym) (Lori D. Marchell Carlsen)
Each chapter begins with noted scripture chapter numbers and verses to read from both the Old and New Testament in relation to the content of each chapter. The scripture is not written out. The reference is there as additional selected reading to enhance the message of each chapter in the book. The following is a true story, as written through the eyes of a Labrador Retriever named Č’ert whose purpose is revealed in his story.
My Father’s Greatest Gift is a heartwarming sensitive story of soulful connection between a man, his family and a canine from ” Č’ert Dog’s” perspective. It’s a fun read and anyone who has been owned by a dog or dogs will laugh and tear over the incidentals from puppyhood to doghood. My Father’s Greatest Gift portrays the development of enduring unrequited love between a man (John), his family and Č’ert, a lovable, comical, and decidedly cool black Labrador and the effects, emotions and abundance their relationship renders.
Having been owned by numerous dogs, who like children, exhibited totally different personality traits with one commonality in that dogs wear their giant hearts on their sleeves, always greeting any owner or family member with an exuberant face, licking, dancing love whenever and wherever… Having had my heart owned by dogs as John’s was by Č’ert and Č’ert ‘s by John the pointed passage Of Men and Dogs by Ben Ames Williams which applies all human canine relationships comes to mind.
Of Dogs’ and Men
“A dog does not live as long as a man and this natural law is the fount of many tears. If a boy and a puppy might go to manhood and doghood together, and together grow old, and so in due course die, many a heartache might be avoided. But the world is not so ordered, and dogs will die and men will weep for them so long as there are dogs and men.”
Ben Ames Williams, Fraternity Village
My quick synopsis of Č’ert Dog entering into my father’s heart and the many people and animals he touched in his 14 years of life.
Chapter 1: Puppy Number 8
Narrated from his perspective, Č’ert introduces himself as “Doghead” and describes his international champion bloodline, meeting his Master and son and his mission as “Puppy Number 8” in relation to the broken heart his Master had with the loss of his wife. He discusses his various commands that he has learned and the lovely friend of his Master who helps to raise him.
Chapter 2: Smelting
Č’ert’s visit to his Master’s parent’s home in the Finger Lakes, his short background story of his Master’s growing-up years, athletic triumphs and tribulations wrapped-up with smelting on Salmon Creek. We then learn about the love of his Master’s life and how there meeting was not by chance. He then discusses his many escapades with his Master’s son as well as his nemesis, Saigon, the Rottweiler in the neighborhood.
Chapter 3: Ice Skating
With the new arrival of his Master’s daughter back to the family mix, Č’ert takes her on a slippery run over the ice-covered streets of the neighborhood. He then mentions some various doghead stories together with his love of TOMATO SAUCE and PIZZA as well as his enjoyment in playing in the snow for hours. His Master’s son has been dating a musical woman who has brought a fresh singing voice into the home complete with lots of treats for Č’ert.
Chapter 4: Quail Eggs
A challenging year emotionally and financially, Č’ert’s Master has to learn to adjust to the marriage of his son and the untimely death of a business property tenant. Č’ert’s continued button removal of his Master’s shirts helps to alleviate some of the tension. He goes on to describe the earlier days of the business property and his Master’s 1935 Packard with a rumble seat that HE would just love to ride in! We then learn of Japanese Quail eggs and Č’ert’s opinion about these creatures as well as his “retrieving” experience with Canadian Geese. The autumn wedding brought renewed healing to his Master as change is a difficult thing for many of us. He then touches on the dead-end street neighborhood and stories of his earlier doghead relatives and friends.
Chapter 5: Co-Pilot
On a ride with his Master, the car breaks down and Č’ert’s paws start to bleed. His Master carries him to the family dealership nearby. Č’ert comments about all the various styles of cars, new, classic and antique. He then tells us about the colorful man who began the dealership and his wild printed pants and his love of cars. Even though Č’ert would have loved to drive home in a convertible, they were helped out with a running vehicle nonetheless. Their next visit was to the family bakery where “no dogs are allowed” because he is covered with hair! His Master made some tomato sauce to put on the yummy bread when they got home.
Chapter 6: Happy Family
Now the family is growing bigger with his Master’s daughter meeting a guy whose family has a doghead too! This Brittany Spaniel has oodles of energy and some dental issues which Č’ert elaborates on in the story. The wedding took place at the same church where his Master had been married and there seemed to be a circle of healing occurring in the family. Even though Č’ert was not part of the bridal party, he did enjoy having “helpy-selfy” dog biscuits and taking down a few shirts to remove their buttons.
Chapter 7: Twice the Treats
Now there are many visits from my Master’s family with treats for Č’ert and a renewed sense of peace about their father. Č’ert’s Master created growing greenhouses for his many tomato plant seedlings with his anticipation of the growing season. He discusses about the background of his Master’s ethnic descent together with his ability to be a Master Gardner. Then there are the intoxicating old lilac trees blooming which bring Č’ert into allergy season. Č’ert comments on getting “the look” from his Master as he snags the first tomato-topped hamburger of the summer from his Master’s plate.
Chapter 8: Snow Plowing
Since he is covered with hair and an oily water-repellent skin, Č’ert just LOVES the snow! It is also football season, which his Master loves to watch. He describes the earlier years when his Master played football and how the professional players had another job BESIDES playing professional football. Things were a lot different back then. Super Bowl Sunday at his daughter’s in-laws with lots of finger food for the game and Č’ert’s favorite – PIZZA! Č’ert then describes his favorite commercial with the Clydesdale horses playing football (more on him being a “wide-receiver” later in the story). As much as Č’ert loves snow, driving in it is not his favorite thing.
Chapter 9: Thanksgiving
Č’ert’s love of the extended families, food, gifts and Slovak cookies become the basis of this chapter. There is a time of true joy within the family and even Č’ert can feel that his work is beginning to bear fruit. Č’ert also meets some more dogheads to expand his social network. He also enjoys his new nieces and nephews who pose with him for holiday photos as he tries to give them kisses during the process. He notes that, “Out of all of the holiday seasons that I have experienced with my Master, this one seemed to be the most cherished.”
Chapter 10: Tomatoes, Sunflowers and Roses
From being home alone in a spooky house wondering when his Master would be coming home to watching the British Open on the television set left on for him, Č’ert just knew that something was not well for his Master. His children came to take him for walks and feed him and even left “helpy-selfy” biscuits for him, but he knew that he would not see his Master again in this life. This chapter touches on the process of grief as well as touches of “The Saga of the Last Halupki” which was written by Č’ert’s Master about his mother-in-law’s halupki. The symbolism of his life is written out in this piece which is included in the book. When his Master went home to be with his beloved wife, Č’ert moved to his Master’s daughter’s home. He elaborates on his familiarity with some of the neighborhood dogs including some girlfriend dogheads that live right next door.
Chapter 11: Mr. Svelte
After Č’ert “marked his territory” at his new home, he comments on being now at “boot camp” where he has no more “helpy-selfy” biscuits and walks up and down the steep hills until his joints are sore. He does comment that he feels a lot better, too. There are more neighborhood dogheads which bring social interaction into his life. Then Č’ert talks about his travels and honorable mention with The English Morris Men in Gilbertsville at The Majors Inn. He reminisces about his Master and wishes that he could be sharing these new experiences with him. Č’ert then requires surgery on his lower lip, so off to Cornell he goes. Since his Master went to college at Cornell, he thought it was cool to go to Cornell (even though it was for a different reason)! He comments about the ridiculous cone around his head as well as his attempt to get out of the recovery room, but to no avail. Then it is off to a family vacation at Taughannock Falls State Park with a rustic cabin and campfires. He closes the chapter with Halloween and how he loves that all the children come to see HIM!
Chapter 12: My, My, My, My, My Syria!
Yep, you guessed it – Č’ert fell in love with the sassy white Bichon across the street named Syria. Now that Č’ert’s social network is growing with several girlfriends in close proximity, he often gets sensory overload in making decisions since there are so many choices available to him. What a lucky dog! A trip to hike the creek bed up to the falls at Taughannock Falls State Park and his joy of being in such good shape that he could make it there and back. Then there is the house fire at Syria’s home. Her owners asked if she could stay at Č’ert’s, so she had a supervised sleep-over with Č’ert comforting her throughout the night. Once their home was rebuilt, Syria came back to live across the street together with more female doghead arrivals into the neighborhood. His “haram” keeps growing, but Syria is the love of his life.
Chapter 13: Swimming, Boating and Walking with the Pack
Č’ert elaborates on his blessings to have the family cottage for swimming and his various canoeing, kayaking and paddle boat experiences. He also enjoys the ice cream shop on the way, and has experienced “brain freeze” first hand. On their leaving the family cottage one morning, Č’ert decides to “go for it” and leaves for a walk with the neighboring doghead friends he has made at the cottage. It was the first time that he went away on his own with other doghead friends. There are new dogheads added to the story and an overnight sleep-over with Papa and Bobci, his “new” Master’s parents. Then, we must not forget his musical assistance with piano lessons and his meet and greet procedure.
Chapter 14: The Christmas Tree Forest
Č’ert’s comments on artificial verses real Christmas trees and his trip with the family to the Christmas tree forest. He talks about the beauty of the forest and the fun he had playing in the snow, but how he can’t wait to get back into the warmth of the car. Christmas gifts are all for Č’ert to open, at least he thinks so! He enjoys the warmth of the lights and the delicious food to eat. He also enjoys sleeping. There is louder music coming from the basement as his “new” Master plays the bass guitar and they have named their band “Beer for Dogs!” Č’ert comments on other names he would have preferred had they consulted with him. Č’ert also shared the victory of another doghead who has found true love as Č’ert has been so blessed to have with Syria. Since it is football season once again, he discusses his “wide-receiver” techniques and the rivalry between his old Master’s Giants team and his “new” Master’s Redskins team.
Chapter 15: Cousin Dugan
Č’ert talks about being sore and having lumps as well as being helped up the stairs every night for bedtime. On a trip to the family cottage, he meets his new cousin Dugan, a Wheaton Terrier who hits it off with Č’ert from the start. He brings a renewed sense of energy into Č’ert’s life as they swim and relax on the sloping grass that leads to the lake. Later that summer, cousin Dugan came to sleep over at Č’ert’s home. From introducing Dugan to all of his girlfriends in the neighborhood, to having a photo shoot outside in the yard, to sleeping together on the bed at night, Č’ert became recharged that summer. As autumn approaches, Č’ert has many more movies and photos taken as well as a footprint of his “South Paw” reading “Puppy Number 8” and “The Best Dog” with a trip to his old Master’s cemetery and home. All the children that came for Halloween had to pet Č’ert before they got their treat. It made him exceptionally pleased. Č’ert’s last day included a final walk at watershed and ended going home to share all of his many experiences with his beloved Master.
My comments about Č’ert and one of many days that I have felt him close to me.
Four months after Č’ert’s passing, I felt compelled to walk to watershed. On my way home, a tiny golden and white kitten held onto the top of an old oak tree crying-out deliriously. After about an hour and a half, I talked him down the tree by him taking a “leap of faith” as he had to jump to a lower branch for me to help him. Jaco Kitty has been in our life since that day. God gave him five toes on all four of his white socks, which I believe he needed in order to hang onto that tree for as long as he did. His stories are being documented as the sequel continues.
“My Father’s Greatest Gift takes us on a mesmerizing journey to find the meaning of unconditional love. Marchell has given us a cohesive thesis on human emotions, which are both timeless and universal. My Father’s Greatest Gift is truly a book for everyone. While reading the various chapters – don’t be surprised if your intuition confirms the heart-felt truths that are contained herein. For those who are searching for an ultimate purpose in life – the author’s story will provide a most compelling answer. Marchell reminds us that the loving essence of our relationships becomes a part of us forever.”
Bob Waxman, Ph.D. / The Open Center
Read this beautiful little book and allow yourself to think, feel, laugh and tear for it is a gift in itself.
L.D. Marchell (pseudonym) (Lori D. Marchell Carlsen)
213 Myrtle Avenue
Johnson City, NY 13790
Dale C. Spartas
Photographer & Writer
Just Labs, 101 Uses for Labs, Wise Dogs, Just Goldens
Bozeman, Montana 59715
Wow, what a beautiful story about the bond between dog and man! Please give this book the chance it deserves to touch your lives as Č’ert Dog touched the lives of those around him! You can find it, here: http://www.loridmarchell.com/
This post was written and submitted by Lori D. Marchell Carlsen in memory of Č’ert Dog. May he never be forgotten.
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