May 18, 2024
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May 18, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

It was a hot summer’s day when I walked into the corner grocery near our auto body shop and was nudged by a large dog. He looked up at me as if he wanted my attention. He seemed friendly, so I slowly placed the back of my hand near his nose and said, in a soft friendly tone, “You’re a good boy!”

I said to Ralph, who was behind the counter, “You got a real nice dog here. What’s his name?” He responded, “I thought he was your dog; he came in with you!” It was then I realized that the dog was a stray. He was very skinny and didn’t have a collar or tags.

While I was looking at him he slowly stood up on his hind legs and placed both his front paws on my chest, his brown eyes looking directly into mine. I petted him as if we were old friends.

When I left to go back to the shop, my new friend walked by my side. As I entered the office, he followed me inside, but after a while he gently scratched on the door while looking back at me. I understood what he wanted and I opened the door to let him out, thinking, “If he comes back to me I will take him home.”

He did come back, so I wrote a note describing the dog and taped it to the corner lamppost. I left my phone number on it, hoping that no one would call since my wife and I had been talking about “maybe” getting a dog. However, I realized that I probably should not get too attached in case someone claimed him.

As the work day ended, and I headed home with the dog in the back seat, I couldn’t help wondering, “Will my wife accept this sudden decision of mine?”

When I reached our apartment house, I unlocked the door and we went inside. I put the foyer light on, and when I shut the door I shouted, “Come and see who I brought home!”

When my wife saw him, the look of shock on her face said it all, as she pointed at him, saying very slowly, with conviction in her voice, “I think…you should get that dog…out of here!”

She was frightened at his size and the size of his teeth, until she saw his placid reaction while I petted him. Our little daughter came out of her room, took one look at him, and screamed as she ran into the other room.

After calming everyone down, I suggested that we let him stay the night and if no one claimed him and it didn’t seem to be working out, I would see about finding him a home the next day.

Well, no one claimed him, and we didn’t find him a new home. When we first took him to the vet for his shots, we were told that he was a Belgian Shepherd and about nine months old. When the vet asked me what his name was, I blurted out, “Gentleman Jim.” Gentleman Jim Corbett, the prize fighter, immediately came to mind due to his gentle demeanor. Eventually we shortened it to just Jim, and that’s how Jimmy got his name.

When it was time for our son’s bar mitzvah, we took a family picture. Some of us sat on the couch and some were in back of it, and while the camera was being set up Jimmy came over and sat right down in front of all of us, facing the camera, and the picture was taken just that way. The picture was a treasure, confirming that he was an important part of our family.

I loved Jimmy from the moment he stood up and placed both front paws on my chest. To this day, my wife and I talk about how he would sit and wait patiently in the kitchen, looking up at her when she was cooking food. He was very protective of her, and for all of his 15 years he remained loyal, respectful and gentle. To this day, I still smile as I remember how we met, so long ago, on that hot summer’s day.

By David S. Weinstein

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