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My father died with dog hair on his carpet

Pamela Hodges, William Fernuik and his dog

On March 17th 1998, my father died. When he died he left behind his ex-wife, my mother, who loved him. He left behind his two biological children, my brother, Neal,and myself, who loved him. He left behind three grandchildren, Kelsey, Taylor and Piper, who loved him. He left behind his second wife, and two-step children who loved him.

He also left behind two dogs who loved him.

When he died he left behind a home with dirty carpets. There was dog hair along the baseboards, on the rugs and on the sofa.

I flew to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada from Tokyo, Japan to visit my father in 1986.  It was before he remarried and after he found a stray female German Shepherd dog on the side of the road.

I remember sitting in the living room beside my father, in the home I grew up in,  and staring at the baseboards. All along the edge was a thick black line of dog hair.

I don’t remember what my father and I talked about. I remember my displeasure. Why does he even have a dog? Doesn’t he know how to use a vacuum? What a mess. When my mom lived here the carpets were always clean.

Soon it will be Saint Patrick’s day again. It will be sixteen years since I last saw my father alive. Sixteen years since I kissed his forehead and whispered in his ear, “Daddy, it’s Pamela.  I love you.” Sixteen years since I held his hand and watched his chest rise and fall and listened to the rattle in his throat while he slowly died in front of me.

And if I could have five more minutes with him today I would whisper, “Daddy, it’s Pamela. I love you. We have a new puppy. Her name is Penny. There is dog hair on the carpet, the sofa and along the baseboards. I have a dog Daddy.”

My father is dead. His dog is dead. 

The carpets in his home on Avenue K in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada have been vacuumed. The house was sold and some one else lives there now.

Who cares what your carpets look like when you are dead

What do you value?

Why are you so concerned about how clean your carpets are?

Do not be so concerned with how pretty your carpets looks and forget to live in your home.

Do you worship your carpet?

My carpet is dirty. Five people, two dogs and four cats walk on it. Five days ago a puppy came to live with us. A child said to me, “I want a puppy, but my mom won’t let me have one because we have white carpets.”

And I am sad for the child with white carpets and no puppy.

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.
― Roger A. Caras

Thank you for reading my story. If you would like to make a comment  please share your thoughts. I  always love to chat with you. 

About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • Gholamhossein

    Hello Pamela
    My name is Gholamhossein from Iran
    May God bless your Father
    Your Father has been a good person and
    Kind.
    I know this Distress. Because my mom Dead
    34 years ago
    And it is very difficult
    I translation your write at tow hors
    that I understand it. I have tell it. How many Point to you my dear sister – Pamela
    Every animals are beautiful. And Useful
    for us
    And God make them for our live that
    we live very easy.
    You have known that God make animals
    for Meaning. And we have known that meaning.
    God make Mutton for us that we have
    be Flesh and milk and Thread and …
    God make Hen that have be Flesh and Feather-bed
    and egg
    God make dog for help to Shepherd and
    Keeper for us house.
    God don’t for Lovemaking. And live
    with a dog at home in our besides. And we have be Fond it.
    Through animals dogs are more Stanch to Owner.
    This caused that Persons Interdependent
    to them. And Accustom to dogs. And be Love some it. While our heart is God Place
    and it is love Place to our children. And parents and family a people. Our
    heart is place very Inviolable.
    Moreover dog is Detrimental for Peace.
    Excuse me that I Descant. Think about
    my remark please
    Your brother Gholamhossein from Iran
    God by

    • Hello Gholamhossein from Iran,

      Thank you for taking the time to translate my story and write a comment.
      I am sorry for the loss of your mother.
      34 years is a long time. But time can not take away the love you have for her.

      In The United States, where I live, dog ownership is allowed. And people are allowed to walk their dogs in public. It is a warm day here now, it is time to take the dogs for a walk.

  • La McCoy

    IF you have white carpet, get a white dog.

    • Hello Laura,
      It is not the dog hair that is so dirty, as their little feet.

    • La McCoy

      As I was just our sweeping black sand off my white tile. All I’m saying is I’m not going there.

  • I love when you write about your father. I wish I had memories like yours.

    • I wish you did too Shelley.
      Perhaps when we don’t have any, we make memories for our own children.

  • Valerie Hoy

    That was a little sad. And thought-provoking. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you for reading my story Valerie.
      I wrote the rough draft in Starbucks. If anyone looked at me drinking my coffee, they would have wondered why I was crying.

  • Tara

    A lovely story about your dad and what’s important in life, Pamela.

    • Hello Tara,
      Thank you. You should see my carpet! (smile)

  • As always sweet post. Loved it.

  • Brianna Wasson

    Hi Pamela! I love your story. You are so right. Love and life are much more important than clean carpet. I think it’s the same for letting our homes get all messy and stuff while our kids are living at home. Because I want them to have memories of living more than a clean house. Some people, I think, have the gift of doing both really well. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. Oh well, life in our home is pretty fun, though. 🙂

    • Hello Brianna,
      I can not manage fun memories and a clean house at the same time. A home full of fun and love is wonderful.

  • Good morning, Pamela and thanks for the post. It made me think of my dad who died in 1994. He always had a dog while I was growing up, and I remember the dog hair in his car that always frustrated me. A ride would include listening to his boring classical music and leaving with a small rug of dog hair implanted on your behind.

    Nowadays, what I wouldn’t give for that! I miss him daily, but how wonderful to have had someone in your life that you still miss dearly after twenty years. I feel fortunate for that. The large majority of relationships in my life will not live up that litmus test. These days I try to increase those types of relationships in my life.

    You are right. Twenty years from now, the people that matter in your life will not give a hoot about the pet hair, what will matter is how you made them feel.

    http://foxrivermamas.com/category/thoughts/

    • Thank you Karen for sharing your father here. The stories keep the threads of memories alive.
      You are right, people will remember how you made them feel.

  • Janelle

    That’s a great picture of you and your dad! We have lots of outdoor animals, but I miss my indoor dog. We’ve been talking about getting another one.

    • Hello Janelle,
      An indoor dog to love is always nice. Goats and farm animals can be loved too, but not in the house.
      I look forward to seeing who you decide to bring home.

  • Great perspective, Pamela. Thank you. Pets are undoubtedly a joy to have that teach responsibility and tenderness to children. Keep up the good work, please.

    • Hello Michael,
      Thank you for your encouragement. Nina showed me a photograph of your dog. They do teach tenderness.
      Our puppy is asleep now. I would rather be writing than cleaning the kitchen while she sleeps.