Further Proof

by Tom Swift

The other night I watched the 2018 version of “A Star is Born.” At the end, I cried only for the dog. [1]

The other day I saw a post on my Twitter feed in which a man was shown, via a security camera, to abandon his dog by the side of the road.

Last night I read a syndicated news story about a boy named Jordan and a dog named Fred. [2]

Jordon, a 12-year-old, has alopecia; he has no hair, eyebrows or eyelashes. In elementary school, Jordan had friends and sleepovers and played sports. By the time he got to middle school, all that stopped. Bullied on account of his condition, he withdrew from the world, refusing to leave his bedroom.

Fred, a 4-year-old Australian shepherd/lab mix, had been neglected by his original owner. Crated 24 hours a day, he had a skin condition and other medical problems. His nails were at one point so overgrown they were curled under.

“I can tell you from the minute Jordan got out of the car and he saw Fred,” said Jordan’s mother, Cheri, in the article, “it was love at first sight.”

Jordan nursed Fred, including helping with exercises for his previously little-used legs.

Fred then nursed Jordan, in that the dog prompted the boy to run outside so the pair could play fetch.

Cheri said on account of his furry friend, Jordan may soon be ready to have human friends again. He is even thinking about joining a golf league.

After reading the article I scribbled on the newspaper: “further proof that dogs are the best.” Such an easy tweet. When I think on it further, when I think of the bullying boys — or the man who abandoned the dog — or whatever person or persons it was who had no regard for Fred’s well-being — it’s not hard to wonder if maybe dogs are better than us humans. The word that comes to mind is innocent. There is something innocent about their love. You see that in the video of the abandoned dog (which I did not watch beyond seeing the dog’s unaware but slightly anxious demeanor the moment before the owner did the deed). You see it in so many dogs you encounter, whether on the street corner or on the screen.

No doubt, there are human heroes in Jordan and Fred’s love story. Cheri said it was a doctor who recommended an animal. So many physicians today would have simply taken out a notepad and written a prescription for anti-depressants. And it was a local organization called Paws for Life Rescue who made Fred that animal. Perhaps these encounters with dogs, or those with the longtime little buddy who lies at my feet as I write these words, have me reaching for the simple solutions. If only human life could be so easy as eat, sleep, play, love. Of course, it is not, and cannot be. Ultimately, we would not wish it so, either. But if only for a moment …

Alas, I have no difficulty believing the tale presented in my newspaper. Fred had been physically confined to his cage. Jordan had been emotionally trapped in his room. The two now sleep together and go everywhere possible together.

What a love story.

*          *          *

[1] I say that to be clever. There is much to like in the first half of the film and Lady Gaga is great. The second half, well, at some point — maybe it is the forced tears at the rehab facility or possibly the fact the final chord for a man so seemingly in touch with the depths of his artistic soul is cut by a curt conversation with a one-dimensional character, the “sinister popstar manager” flown in from Central Casting — the love story’s spell, once tangible, believable, and steeped in atmosphere, is, for me, broken.

[2] By Christina Hall, “Neglected Dog Rescues Bullied Waterford Boy, Now Bond is Unbreakable,” originally published in the Detroit Free Press, December 3, 2018.