Miss Elizabeth was a widow, as most of the home’s residents were. She had raised 7 children born from 1935 to 1949 and helped her husband on their small farm. They also ran a mom and pop store where they sold produce and products from their farm. They had chickens, goats, and at least one cow. Miss Elizabeth also had a Rat Terrier at one time of which she was quite fond. But, generally, animals had been sources of food. That’s what made it so interesting when she and Frosty bonded so strongly.
Frosty is a pampered pet; some might say spoiled. She lives in the house, sleeps on the bed with us, rides in the car, and often goes along with us to visit friends. This kind of lifestyle for an animal must have seemed quite unfamiliar to Miss Elizabeth. Yet, it wasn’t long before she realized that Frosty was special, and she began to talk to her family about Frosty as if she were a child who came with me to visit. Later on, when I met one of Miss Elizabeth’s daughters on a visit, she said, Oh yes, this is Frosty. We know all about Frosty.
Miss Elizabeth loved to visit, chat, and tell stories, and, with her background on the farm and in the store, she had a lot of interesting stories to tell. For my part, I would share with her what I was planting in the garden, what project my husband was
working on in the house, and the latest adventures of Frosty and her Scottie brother, Tarquin. Sometimes, one or two of the other residents would stop into Miss Elizabeth’s room, and we’d have an old fashioned gabfest with Frosty lying on the floor
amongst us, but always very close to Miss Elizabeth.
One day in December we arrived for our weekly visit to find a squirrel had been particularly determined and greedy on her bird feeder. Finally, in frustration, Miss Elizabeth had grabbed her tape of Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer and played it at full volume while singing along with it. This action had the desired effect but only temporarily, and, as she was telling us the story, the squirrel reappeared. Drat, there’s that squirrel again! Miss Elizabeth said through gritted teeth.
Frosty wasn’t what you’d call a big fan of birds, but she absolutely hated squirrels. Her reaction was immediate when she heard Miss Elizabeth utter the magic S word. She stiffened and rose up on her hind feet, placing her front feet on the occasional table in front of the window. Looking the dreaded squirrel directly in the eye, she gave one sharp bark. Now, if you know anything about Scotties, you know they do not have a little dog bark; they are a big dog in a small dog’s body, and their bark is big dog loud. The squirrel, having been firmly told to scram, wasted no time running full speed to the wooded area that borders the home. Miss Elizabeth was gleeful as she patted Frosty and said, Good dog! over and over. I was a bit alarmed. Frosty had never barked during a visit. From the time she was a one year old pup, and we began to visit the hospital, it was as if she knew barking was forbidden. But, her sideways look at me as she was accepting her accolades said it all: This situation definitely called for a bark!
As you can imagine, the story of Frosty routing the squirrel spread through the home and, of course, Miss Elizabeth’s family had to hear all about it, probably several times over. For weeks Miss Elizabeth would remind me of how Frosty routed the
squirrel, proudly declaring her feeder squirrel free. Even a year later, she was still bringing up the incident with a laugh.
The above story is an excerpt from: Frosty’s Story. Tails of a Therapy Dog. You can learn more about the book and purchase a copy at a pre-publication price or download an e-book version here: FROSTY’S STORY.