A Story of Stanley

A Story of


From: Andrew Vogel vogelap@email.uc.edu
Subject: Stanley in the Gaudeamus Honor Roll

To: bolenh@rockbridge.NET

The hardest thing when talking about Stanley is knowing where to begin.

Let’s start here…

Stanley came into my life at a happy time — I was newly married, had just bought a house, and recently started a new job. When he picked us, Stanley was a 6 month old puppy at a breeder’s 60 miles north of where I lived. After he decided on us, we took him into the breeder’s house to settle up. Stanley warmed up in the house and began running. Running. Running around the large farm house. Into the kitchen, through the dining room, into the living room, onto the couch, off the couch, into the kitchen, through the dining room… Boundless joy expressed through boundless energy.

Undaunted and laughing, we packed him into the car for the ride home. On the way home, my wife and I sang songs for Stanley since the car radio made him uncomfortable. As we drove under an overpass, Stanley would duck his head. By the time we got him home, he knew his name. Smart as a whip.

We took him into our large old house and Stanley, who had never been in a house before, was scared of everything — the television, the stairs, doors that slammed, being in a room by himself, and the sound of the furnace coming on. Whenever something strange and new would happen, Stanley would slowly, but nobly, crawl into my lap for security and a head rub.

Soon, his natural confidence came out – he explored the house and claimed several areas as his own – the corner of the couch by the front window, the area by the back door of the kitchen, and the master bedroom. With my support, Stanley became a confident dog.

Jump-cut 3 years, to 1994.

My life has changed dramatically. A nasty divorce left me without confidence, possessions, money, and any desire to continue. My house was taken from me. The one thing, honestly — the one thing — I fought for was Stanley. Fortunately, he stayed with me.

I was scared of everything — dating, commitment, being alone, being with someone. I was unwilling to trust people. Whenever these feelings would hit, Stanley would proudly, confidently, and eagerly crawl into my lap offering security in exchange for a head rub.

Soon, my natural confidence came out. I began to explore my life again, finding what was left of the old and what new pieces were blossoming within me. I found my world, and my place in the world. With his support, Stanley helped me to become a confident, complete man again.

Now, I’ve purchased a big old house for me and Stanley to explore. My life is back on track, and I owe most of that to the wonderful little dog who has made my life complete.

The second hardest thing when talking about Stanley is knowing when to stop. Let’s stop here for now.
There will be more, certainly, but we’ll stop here.

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