The first time Rob met Hope he knew he had one of the best damn cow dogs in all of Arizona. Hope had a personality somewhere between a critter full of hate and a love for life. This was sometimes typical of a “blue” dog; it was hard to explain. He would guard Rob’s truck and possessions with his life, but at the same time become a friend to a dying child. Actually that is how Hope really became known.
You see, one day Hope and Rob were working cattle along the old Big Sandy trail when they met this young lady and her son out walking. The lady admired Rob’s horse and her son kept his eyes fixed on Hope. After a few moments conversation with a handsome cowboy the young boy’s mother told Rob how much her son wanted to have a dog, but couldn’t because he was going on a long journey to heaven.
|Hope was a great cow dog. He knew how to handle cattle and horses, but more important, he brought smiles to a little boy’s face.|
His mother walked a little closer toward Rob’s horse. Rob then stepped down and began to talk with her. She told Rob about the brain tumor that was eating away at Kevin’s life. It was difficult for Rob to believe this strong blue- eyed, blond headed child was near death. She apologized for bothering Rob on a working day, but said Kevin had begged so hard just to say hello. As Rob stood talking, Hope quickly made friends with Kevin. The dog nuzzled him acknowledging an immediate friendship. It was as if Blue knew the young boy was special.
You see Rob always knew Hope was special. He had been the runt of the litter and nobody wanted him. Yes, and Rob had a soft spot in his heart for those who were special.
Rob invited Kevin and his mother to visit the ranch. It certainly was a wonderful day for Kevin when he extended that invitation. The cows could wait for another day, he thought. The smiles that dog brought to that boy’s face still flash across Rob’s mind.
The other day when I visited with Kevin’s mom and Rob they both talked about her son and Blue. Now you know why Rob thought so much of that dog and why he was so special. Rob would never forget Kevin, his mother, or Hope. Two of them are gone now, but there are two people who are still together forever.
Hope was a great cow dog. He knew how to handle cattle and horses, but most important of all he brought smiles to a little boy’s face before he made that long trip to heaven and changed Rob’s life forever.
Rob now sits on the veranda of his ranch talking to Kevin’s mother about what could have been, but didn’t happen. Kevin’s mother looks Rob in the eyes and says, “Kevin has Hope now and I have you. Rob, you have eased my pain and Blue eased Kevin’s pain. My friend it was met to be.”
I believe this story should be told. It’s a short story based on fact and occurred more than forty years ago. I knew all of the participants including Blue, and young Kevin was one of my students many years ago. The names and places have been changed to protect to true identity of those mentioned in this story. The family did not want their names revealed to the public.