Oh, Henry

Henry playing dead

Henry, playing dead.

Henry is the latest addition to our family.

He belongs to my oldest son, who’s come back home to live temporarily.

Henry is a Pit mix. His coat is a shiny, smoky gray with white markings. He has a tiny underbite, as bulldogs do. His eyes take in everything – he is incredibly perceptive of moods and every move we humans make. If he thinks someone is angry, he creeps over to his crate and goes in.

He is meek, the gentlest, most affectionate dog; he never seems to get enough belly rubs. He puts one paw up on your arm when you pet him. He is always ready to play – he brings tennis balls to us and drops them in our laps. If we’re too slow in responding, Henry nudges the ball closer to our hands.

If we fail to give Henry the attention he wants, he lies in the floor and plays dead. Poor neglected creature!

On the second night home, Henry hopped up on my husband’s and my bed, where he settled himself Sphinx-like, quite majestically, looking at us as if to say: “This is where I shall sleep henceforth. This is my place.”

And so it is. Henry snuggles deep between us every night, often sleeping with his head on my leg.

My husband tells our son: “Henry is our dog now.”

Our son rolls his eyes. “Yeah, sure, Dad.”

Henry has been used to living in an apartment, so having a big backyard where he can run around is an absolute joy to him. He’s in dog paradise.

One morning our son went to call him back in and Henry was gone.

Someone had left the gate open.

A stab went through my heart – I could hardly breathe. This is our boy’s beloved dog, he brings him here, and we lose him.Β 

Our son had adopted Henry from an animal shelter.

He was a stray.

“HEENNNNNRRRYYYY!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. I ran outside in my pajamas, not caring if the neighbors woke up to see. “HEEEEENNNNNRYYYY!”

After a couple of heart-wrenching minutes, our son found Henry on the front porch, looking guilty. Once inside the house, Henry slunk over to his crate and lay down, looking at us with the whites of his eyes showing.

Oh, Henry.

We are so thankful that you’re here.



Henry making himself at home.


slice-of-life_individualEarly Morning Slicer







22 thoughts on “Oh, Henry

  1. Don’t they have a way of saying SO much with the whites of their eyes and their body language. He sounds like a really special dog. Hope your son realizes that a big back yard is heaven–especially with a closed gate!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Henry’s good nature and keen perception have often made me think he’d make a perfect service dog. He could certainly be a therapy dog – it’s impossible to be down in his presence! He gives back every bit and more of the affection he’s given. He makes us laugh every day. Oh yes, our son says Henry is living the life now with backyard freedom. That gate is checked endlessly, each day!


    • Believe me, my heart stopped, too – only a couple of times in my life have I felt like it might stay stopped, and this is one of them. Henry was probably just checking out his new digs with no idea why all the humans were freaking out. I can hardly think about it, even now!


  2. I felt that moment of panic all dog-owners feel when you said he wasn’t there! So glad he was on the porch! I love how dogs are so adaptable and make themselves right at home (I’m dog-sitting my mom’s dog right now). Yay for Henry!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it is a horrible feeling, thinking a dog is gone. Thank heaven we only experienced it for a few minutes. Henry totally rules the place now! Have fun dog-sitting – there’s always a story …. πŸ™‚


  3. We have a pit, and they are by far my favorite breed. You’ve captured all those sweet features of the pit–their sensitivity to their people’s moods; their Velcro dog qualities; their gentle nature; their need for a couch to nap on! So glad he was just hanging out on the porch!

    Liked by 1 person

    • We became attached to Henry immediately. Happy to know these are characteristics of the breed. We have two other dogs as well – a 15-year-old dachshund that Henry tries to herd (the dachshund, characteristically, ignores him) and a yellow Lab. Henry doesn’t like the Lab – probably because he’s only a year old and hyper – so for the time being they take turns in the backyard. I am ever grateful Henry didn’t stray off!


  4. Will Henry change the word “temporarily” to permanently…to be continued.

    On another note – it may be because I just wrapped up a unit on punctuation, specifically dashes, commas, and parentheses to set off parenthetical elements, but this piece is a perfect punctuation mentor text! You have so many things for my students to look at tomorrow: colons, semi-colons, dashes, complex and compound sentences, fragments used for emphasis, italics, internal dialogue just to name a few. Thank you for changing my lesson plans for tomorrow! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • We say that when our son must go, he must go, but Henry … ! Yes, to be continued. I have never even dreamed of any of my pieces being punctuation mentor texts! I play with punctuation for the “feel,” for clarity, and intended effect, usually. I would be honored for you to use this in your lesson – and I hope the kids enjoy reading about Henry. πŸ™‚


  5. You really brought Henry to life for me in this story! Having had a similar experience with my dog getting out of the backyard, I could feel your panic as you frantically searched for him. What a lucky dog Henry is to have found a place in the hearts of your family!

    Liked by 1 person

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