My Sunday Visitor

Every other Sunday afternoon I have a visitor named Nelson appear at my door about 3 pm. When I go to the door, his body language communicates sheer joy. (Can you see his tail wagging?) As soon as he steps inside, I give him a treat, for I want him to know that good things happen in his world.

IMG_20160103_144507593 (2)

Nelson stays with me while his human, John, and my daughter, Polly, and some other of their friends drive to Almost Home, the Humane Society of Nelson County, and walk the dogs that still wait for their forever homes.

It’s my and Nelson’s special time. After the treat, we engage in several minutes of talking, playing, scratching, and general enjoyment of each other’s company. If I return to the computer to continue writing, Nelson comes to lay down by my feet, where I can easily reach to scratch him. Sometimes during the early part of our visit he gets up and walks to the sliding glass door, looking out to see if John has returned. He may bark, or he may whine a little, yet he is learning to trust his human will return.

When I take a break and ask if he’d like to go for a walk, he jumps up and rushes to the door, his tail wagging faster than a metronome set for presto (very fast).

“Nelson, sit,” I sometimes say gently, as I did today, so I can hook the leash to his clay colored collar, which blends so beautifully with his gorgeous brindle coloring. I open the door and Nelson pulls me in the direction he wants to go: sometimes we walk into the woods, sometimes by the stream, but, mostly, around the entire property. We never go on the road, though, because a moment on a road a year ago changed his life forever.

When we come back inside half an hour later, he often settles by me on the couch where he watches out the front deck door for John’s car to return. I read my book with my arm around him. We are content.

I often think of the first time I met Nelson in December 2014. He was a small puppy who let me hold him close just like I used to hold my babies. He’d been found injured on the side of a road by a young woman who took him to our Animal Control facility; they took him immediately to a veterinarian. Dr. Ligon estimated he’d been born last Christmas and had been living on his own for an unknown amount of time. He’d been hit by a car and she needed to amputate his right rear leg. Following his surgery, the shelter called my daughter, Polly, who fosters dogs for them, to explain the situation and ask if she’d care for him until they could find a good home. Polly agreed, drove to the vet’s office, and brought the sad little puppy home.

Nelson was so afraid of everyone in those early days. Yet, as time slowly brought physical and emotional healing for him, he became more responsive to the abundant affection and attention he received from Polly, her friends, and family. A month later, John decided to adopt Nelson, thus transforming Nelson’s horrific beginning in life into what every animal needs and deserves: a home that provides safety, security, and a loving environment.

Happy birthday, a little belated, precious Nelson!


(Nelson, being a puppy, chewing up John’s invitation to a relative’s wedding.)




About Mary Jo Doig

Mary Jo Doig was the first in her family to attend college and graduated from the State University at Oneonta in New York’s Catskill Mountains with a degree in Secondary English Education/Educational Psychology. There she fell in love with rural life, remained, and eventually transitioned from city girl to country woman when she married a dairy farmer and raised their three children on their small family farm. A life-long lover of reading and writing, Mary Jo has for nearly twenty years been a member of the Story Circle Network. There she has been an editor, a women’s writing circle facilitator, a book reviewer, and life-writing enthusiast, working extensively with women writing their life-stories while writing her own memoir. Presently, she is a three-time Program Chair for SCNs national Stories from the Heart conference and a board member. She also facilitates Older Women’s Legacy workshops and a women’s life-writing circle in her area communities. Her stories have appeared in Kitchen Table Stories anthology, Story Circle Annual Anthologies, and most recently her story “I Can’t Breathe” was published in the Anthology, Inside and Out: Women’s Truths, Women’s Stories. Her work also appears in varied blogs and periodicals, on her blog Musings from a Patchwork Quilt Life (, Facebook, and Twitter. Her son and two daughters grown, Mary Jo presently treasures her country life in Virginia’s Central Shenandoah Valley. She loves cooking (and eating!) healthy food, reading, writing, quilting, hiking, and spending quality time with her rescue cats, Button and Xena, and beagle, Addie, who each dream of being only children. Her first book, Patchwork: A Memoir of Love and Loss, will be published in October, 2018 by She Writes Press.
This entry was posted in Animal friends, Gifts, Gratitude, Health, Kindness, Mystery. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to My Sunday Visitor

  1. goldenjanet says:

    I love Nelson already. He reminds me of my granddogs. I have 4. Sadly, my apartment complex doesn’t allow dogs so I visit them often at my children’s homes because our time together is delicious.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s