Posted: November 26, 2010
This is the time of year when we all give thanks for family, friends, good-paying jobs or anything else that is important to us. This year, I want to give thanks to Tillie, a Rhodesian Ridgehound who showed up unexpectedly on the doorstep of my parent's home in Galena,IL, about 13 years ago.
When the pup showed up, she was a bit tattered and was obviously a stray. My mother made sure to feed her and give her some water, but my parents had no intentions of having a dog since they were just beginning their retirement years.
So, as they planned their trip north to visit me in Eau Claire in 1997, they made sure to loosely attach her to the metal pole shed with plenty of food and water - never assuming that she would be there when they arrived home two days later.
Upon my folks' return to Galena, they were shocked to see that a violent windstorm had torn apart the pole shed. The dog was nowhere to be seen. Mom was sad because she was concerned for the dog's well-being. But, two days later, Tillie appeared again on the back doorstep. Since then, the Ridgehound has been a part of the Ropa family.
Rhodesian Ridgehounds have a unique personality and Tillie displayed all of them. Mom and Dad always said, "Tillie gives us a laugh a day ".
I asked Dad why she was named Tillie. He told me how, back in the 1940's, his grandmother would call my grandfather in Des Plaines,IL, a few times a year as she arrived at Union Station in downtown Chicago from Fort Wayne,IN. Dad's grandmother wanted to know why someone wasn't there to pick her up at the train station. But nobody knew the grandmother was coming to visit. And when she came, Dad said Grandma "O'Tilda" seemed to stay forever.
Like all of us, Tillie has aged over the years. She has trouble hearing and has a hard time getting up on the couch. But she was a special companion for my mother when she was ailing and now she co-habitates with my Dad in Galena. I visited Dad last week and he noted how Tillie still gives him a laugh a day.
Dogs are supposed to be "Man's Best Friend ". But, in reality, dogs are good for all mankind.
Happy belated Thanksgiving - and hopefully you and your family had some good laughs.