We’re very careful about what we print in the newspaper. We’ll hem and haw over verbiage, what’s politically correct and what’s too much.
That’s why I offer this disclaimer: I recently got a story pitch, and you can read the submission verbatim at daily-chronicle.com.
I want to warn you because, if you’re like me, this story will reduce you to blubbery goo. It’s incredibly well-written, which is why I’ve posted it here, unedited, online.
Scott Beauchamp of Kingston recently emailed us a story about a dog. Here’s the condensed version:
Bandit, a Jack Russell terrier, wasn’t the dog Scott had in mind. He wanted a big ol’ family dog, but Bandit and his daughter became inseparable.
Yeah, you’re already thinking twice about reading it, aren’t you?
Bandit slowly, steadily wins over Scott’s heart. He valiantly defends Scott’s daughter. She ultimately leaves for college, leaving Scott and Bandit to struggle with growing old together.
Man, just summarizing this story is making me weepy.
So why am I doing it? Because Scott reminded me to cherish every moment.
My family's dogs are getting old. I vividly remember Kayla bringing Dexter, our black lab mix, home on a Sunday in October 2011. She was lonely, with me working long hours for a hockey team and sometimes being on the road for days at a time. I'd never had a big dog. I wasn't thrilled as he dragged her across the parking lot. Today, Dexter is an 85-pound daddy's boy I can't imagine life without.
About two years ago, we rescued Zoey, our beagle mix who finds a new way to be disgusting every day. She also finds new ways to make me swoon every day, even if it's just leaning into my hand while I scratch her.
She's 12 and showing a lot of her age, but I try not to think about it.
My kids are only 4, but they were just premature twin newborns a minute ago, weren't they? My wife and I agonized for months and with stood pressure from a pediatrician to just give them formula already. They needed to put on weight, and it wasn’t happening fast enough.
They were just learning to crawl. To scoot. To talk. To run.
They were just toddlers, cutting teeth, fussing over whatever pureed slop we were forcing them to eat one day, devouring it the next, then treating it like poison again the next.
They were just telling me they love me for the first time – with words, at least.
Wasn't it just their first day of 3-year-old preschool?
I could have sworn they just learned to write their names.
Remember when they used to nap? Gosh, we miss naps – my wife, in particular. She could tackle a to-do list the length of her arm if the girls nodded off for only an hour.
They were just skinning their knees, singing a song by heart, learning to ride tricycles, accidentally swearing while trying to come up with rhymes, all for the first time.
They were just finally learning to pet Dexter and Zoey, rather than just climb on them and bat at them.
Thank goodness for patient dogs and their unmatched loyalty.
Curse you, time. There’s never enough of you.
Bless you, Scott Beauchamp, for reminding me how important it is to cherish today.
Need that sort of reminder? Read this column online, where Scott's heartwarming story can be found.
• Christopher Heimerman is news editor of the Daily Chronicle. Call him at 815-756-4841, ext. 2221, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @CHeimermanDDC.