A long time ago, in a land not so far away as you might think, there lived a mostly happy and mostly functional family in an old house on 100 acres. The little girl had a friend whose dog just had puppies. She wanted a puppy SO much. The parents weren’t too sure, because the older dog didn’t take too well to strangers, but the girl begged and begged and they gave in. When they went to pick him out, she chose the little runt of the litter. Off by himself, while his littermates played.
The little girl thought “That one needs love”.
So they brought him home, and the first thing he did was break the screen door trying to get in to be closer to the family. The girl’s brother said they should name him Bart (after Bart Simpson) since he seemed determined to get in trouble.
He was trained for Head of Ranch Security by the family’s older dog Fibber McGee. The Head of Ranch Security is a very important job. They warn the family of trouble or anything unusual happening outside. They have a bark for a familiar car, a strange car, the mailman/UPS deliverpeople, snakes, coyotes and various other critters. The family learns which bark means what, so they can be ready. Ranch dogs are very important members of the family, for this reason. They are working dogs, and they know it.
Bart grew up to be an eternal puppy. Up until the day he died, at the ripe age of 17, he was a happy, sweet puppy. But that came many years later.
Several years prior to that sad day, 2007, the children in the family were grown and gone. It’s possible that the mother and the father felt a little lonely, and maybe Bart did too.
One day, the mother of the family was at the vet to pick something up for Bart, and she saw an ad for puppies to give away. The picture was of a litter and there was one puppy of them all that was looking right into the camera with a bright, happy look on her face.
They weren’t planning on getting another dog, they hadn’t even really thought about it…but that puppy worked some magic on the mom.
Bart, unlike Fibber, was completely fine with a new addition. He welcomed her as a new buddy. The mother and father said that the little pup would follow Bart around and looked a lot like Maggie Simpson, when she would follow Bart on the TV show. As an ungainly puppy, she would sometimes fall over just like the cartoon baby.
Thus, Bart and Maggie became a team. Bart looked out for her, and trained her in all the ways of taking care of his people. Maggie turned out to be brilliantly smart. The mother always says Maggie would drive the car if they were skilled enough to teach her.
Bart, Maggie, the mama and the daddy were all very happy together.
A few years ago, in a land far away called Los Angeles, there lived a very sad and lonely girl. She recently had her heart broken, but had felt lonely and overwhelmed for a long time before that. This girl worked in an animal hospital. She was also very, very poor.
One day, a family came in with a dog. The children were crying and they carried this dog in surrounded by sadness. The girl looked at that dog’s face, and felt like she’d been struck by lightning.
The girl was busy working, and didn’t know much about the dog, but she couldn’t stop thinking about her. She felt like a middle schooler with a crush. She started making excuses to go past the dog’s kennel.
The small dog was very scared. She was about 20 pounds and had only three legs. She didn’t understand why she was there. But instead of cowering in the back of her kennel, she came right up to the front and challenged everyone. Barking and snarling.
The girl could really respect that. This dog was frightened and alone, but she was a fighter until the end. The girl thought maybe she could learn something from this little dog.
So she asked the rescue group about her. It seems this little dog was found at the tiny age of 4 months, wandering the streets of LA with a leg that didn’t work right. The rescue took her in, had her bad leg removed so she could move more easily, and found her a home. But the mysterious past the pup endured made her difficult. In spite of loving her very much, the family couldn’t deal with her aggression, and after almost a year they returned her to the rescue. Which is why she ended up boarding in the Animal Hospital where the girl worked.
One night, a few days after meeting this little dog, the girl was sitting at home, alone as usual, and thought to herself “I wish that little dog was here with me. That would be nice…just to cuddle with a little dog. Maybe with that dog.”
The girl started going to the animal hospital in her time off, to visit the dog. The hospital workers warned her about the dog’s aggression, but the girl wasn’t afraid. “I understand her.” she said, as the hospital workers shook their heads in bewilderment.
The girl was very poor, and couldn’t afford a dog. But her friends at the animal hospital saw how much the girl loved the dog, and they brought her a big box full of old dog things they didn’t need anymore. A bed, bowls, collar, leash and more. But before the girl could get the dog, she would have to pay a fee to the rescue.
She asked the head of the rescue how much it would cost. Normally, the girl could never afford even the small adoption fee, but the head of the rescue said “I love this dog, but with her issues I’ll never find her a good home. You can have her for free, because I know you’ll love her like she needs to be loved.”
So, the girl brought the dog home.
The dog immediately went into the girl’s bedroom and hopped up on the bed as though she’d been there forever.
The girl tried very hard to name the dog Ripley. But the dog just wasn’t having it. She refused to acknowledge that the word even existed. Then the girl thought “Hm. Well, I guess since the family already has a Bart and a Maggie, I should name her Lisa.”
The first time the girl said the name, the dog perked her ears and wagged her tail. As if to say “Finally! I thought you’d never guess it right.”
The girl and the dog lived happily ever after. Best friends, companions, and partners in a life that can often feel so, so lonely; but will always send you just what you need most, at just the right time.