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June 25, 2004 - "The Lottery Winner" by Mark Crider


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"The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too." ~Samuel Butler



When I read today's story, I couldn't help but do the "Awwwwwwww..." thing. I know we have lots of animal people who will love this story! Be sure to send Mark an email! Also, I am looking for stories of patriotism, heroes in America, and celebration of freedom. Please send them to me at

"The Lottery Winner"
by Mark Crider

Having finished driving the stainless steel cross into the ground that I had fabricated at our welding and machine shop, I stood up to look at it.

Many happy memories flooded my mind and the tears flooded down my cheeks as I reflected back over the years of great and happy times spent together. Riding in the boat fishing, flying in our plane to our west texas office, walks through the woods, trips in the pickup, beachcombing, arrowhead hunting at the ranch, helping (or hindering)with cattle roundup and many many other fun hours spent together.

It was early summer 1981 when Misty Blue, my one dark-eyed, one blue-eyed Heeler passed away suddenly. We had been fun partners for sixteen years and she had been active until the abrupt end by heart failure, I was told.

I turned to look at the sad faces and tears of my wife and children, then back at the inscription I had welded to the face of the cross.

"We Will Meet At The Rainbow Bridge Someday Sweetheart- Misty Blue, 1965-1981".

"I will never, ever have another dog. They just don't live long enough and it's too painful, like losing one of you when they go." I told my family.

Fast forward to a cold, drizzling January night during supper 1997.

The phone rang.

"My two pitbulls have your little puppy cornered in my garage," my neighbor said.

"Puppy? I don't own a puppy." Was my reply.

"Oh! There's been a little dog hanging around a couple of days stealing catfish food from the sack in the garage. I've run her off several times" My wife said.

"I'll be right there" as I told my neighbor not to let her get hurt.

There she was, all two pounds of her, teeth bared at the two giant pitbulls, bluffing her meaness, trying to save herself.

I picked her up and she squirmed quickly inside my coat and up to my armpit shaking uncontrollably.

Back at the house I showed her to my wife who told me that was the dog she had been scaring out of the garage.

She smelled the food on the table and while still shaking started to sniff and lick her lips in anticipation of some food. She was starving.

Leaving her on a heating pad in a bathtub, I went to the store and got her some good dog food since I knew table food was not good at all for her. She filled up.

The next morning I called the paper and started a free, three day, found ad for lost pets. I also contacted Animal Control and Lost Pet Hotline to alert them. The newspaper ad read, "Found Chihuahua, call and identify". We thought she was a chihuahua cross of some kind at that time.

Five AM or so, I'm reading the paper. The phone rings, "Nope, not her", the other line lights up, "Nope" and it is nearly continual calls, but no one identifies her. This goes on for two weeks.

At supper one night my wife looked at me as I held her while she affectionately licked my hands . "Too late now, isn't it" she said.

"Yep, what are we going to name her?" I replied.

"Whaaaateeeeever!" My wife slowly breathed out.

And so it was to the vet for getting into good shape with shots, pills and tags. She got a bath and shampoo to go with her new collar. The vet checked her profile and determined she wasn't a chihuahua cross but a short legged toy rat terrier. Fine with me.

She now goes everywhere with us. She guards the truck, our home, the office, and anyplace we stay. We go on the boat fishing and check the garden together. She has set herself up as chief squirrel and swan monitor so they don't get too close to me.

This past summer we spent two weeks fishing in Alaska together. The airline stewardesses and surrounding passengers just adored and petted her on both going and return flights. She just loved the attention from everyone.

She beat the odds of finding a loving caring home. Especially with a guy that rarely if ever goes back on his words. Well, this is different? Right?

Friends and the office staff call her the lottery winner.

Mark Crider copyright 2004
mark @

Mark & Sandra Crider live at their bird sanctuary in Northwest Corpus Christi Texas. Their lake is home to full time black swans and wild ducks during the winter.


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The Letter Box:

Dear Susan,
I have been a member of 2theheart for two years now and your stories are always my favorite. As a mother, I always relate to your feelings - although I could never put them into words the way you do! Your story "Daddy Hands" had me crying from the beginning to well after I was done reading it. It's my very favorite! It's also a powerful testimony to the power of prayer. Thank you for this truly miraculous story. God bless you and little Noah! Jean

Dear 2TheHeart,
"Daddy Hands" was a deeply moving story to me for two reasons. I am a father who prays with his children and also because my older brother is deaf too. I remember when he was little and we were first learning to use sign language with him. Prayer was one of the first things we tried to teach him, and I can still remember his small hands signing "amen". Your story will stay with me a long time and I have mailed it to my brother and parents, who I know will cherish it as well. Sincerely, James Cowan

just returned from being out of town last night, read this story, well words are not good enough to describe my emotions. so beautiful, so powerful--thank God Noah's doing great. thanks for sharing this again,

keep hope alive,
mike segal

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