A Cedar Rapids homeless man knew all too well the meaning of the saying, “A man’s best friend is his dog.” Kevin McClain and his dog shared a battered car for years before he collapsed and ended up at a hospice. He lay there alone and friendless, dying from terminal lung cancer. Can you imagine being sick and homeless with only the love and devotion of your beloved dog and the heartache of having your best friend taken from you?
Mutts were like Rodney Dangerfield. They got no respect. That’s changing now. National Mutt Day is celebrated on July 31 and December 2. The main focus is to foster awareness of the many mixed-breed dogs available for rescue or adoption. Mutts deserve respect and recognition for their uniqueness on a special day and every day of the year.
A pint-sized angel with shimmering, sheer wings and a crooked halo on her head stood among the motley crew of trick-or-treaters on my front porch. She couldn’t have been more than four years old, much shorter than the others and her small pumpkin container hung lower. As I handed out Halloween candy, I suddenly heard a loud wail. “Nooooo, stop it!” Tears streamed down the face of the little angel in distress; her mother hurriedly ran up onto the porch. I looked down wondering what on earth could be wrong. Then I saw it! My Scottish terrier’s head was buried in her candy carrier frantically trying to grab a mouthful of candy before making his getaway. I assured the frantic mother that her angel hadn’t been bitten by the black furry head submerged in the pumpkin.
When my Dad took me fishing for the first time as I was a little girl, it upset me to see the fish twisting and jerking wildly at the end of the fishing pole. I asked my Dad if the hook was hurting the fish’s mouth. He assured me that fish don’t feel the hook. He said that fish don’t have feelings in their mouths. Still, it bothered me because the fish didn’t seem to know that judging from its reaction.
McDuff is a Scottish Terrier who came to the author, Judy McFadden, as a puppy. There is nothing as cute as a Scottie puppy; all head, eyes dancing with mischief, they steal hearts in an instant. The book chronicles McDuff’s the road from puppyhood to becoming a certified therapy dog, a path that is not common for Scotties, with a lot of emphasis along the way on the author’s personal struggles.