My grandfather, General William L. Lee, taught me the importance of loving and caring for dogs. He was a gifted pilot in the United States Air Force, and during his second tour of duty in the Philippines his pit bull Mickey would often accompany him on his duties. Jerry, a nickname given to him by his father, was also an adamant supporter of the Humane Society in Amarillo, Texas, where he served as president and remained on the board until his death on February 26, 1976.
He never failed to tell anyone “If you take on the responsibility of owning a dog you must provide until the day God takes the breath of life from it, and if you die first by God you’d better have left provisions to provide for YOUR dog until that day!” He was a man of great convictions about animals, our earth and humanity.
Long ago he cut out a poem from an Amarillo newspaper which I keep on me at all times. I have laminated the aged yellowed paper and keep it next to the Bible he and my grandmother gave me. It is a poem everyone should read at least once.
TO MY BOY
by Martin Hale
I want my boy to have a dog or maybe two or three;
He’ll learn from them much easier than he will learn from me.
A dog will teach him how to love, and bear no grudge or hate;
I’m not so good at that myself, but a dog will do it straight.
I want my boy to have a dog to be his pal and friend;
So he will learn that friendship is faithful to the end.
There never yet has been a dog that learned to double-cross,
Nor catered to you when you won, then dropped you when you lost.
Three weeks ago, an organization called Dogs in Danger delivered to me a lovable mutt. She looks nothing like the photos, nor was her description accurate. But Ruby, what I have named her, is what God has blessed me with, and following my grandfather’s advice I will provide for her. I will pray for her to grow up to be “The Ugly Duckling.”
Brenda is a longtime vendor and volunteer for Street Sense. She loves to tidy up the office.