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I have found many four leaf clovers. A dog in Wales found and gave me an 8 leaf clover.

I had a dog I had raised from birth. I called him Reefer. He was part German Shepherd, part Collie, part Labrador. One day his esophagus stopped working. My vet was away when I took him to him. When the vet returned two weeks later he ran tests. He told me that what had happened was common to German Shepherd and to German Shepherd mixes. He advised me to put him down. He said I could take him to the Veterinary College in Guelph, Ontario.

Two more weeks passed while my dog was in Guelph at the end of which I was told, “No dog in this country has survived with what he has.”

“What about outside the country?” I asked.

“Two in The United States did,” I was told.

I replied, “Then one in Canada will.”

At that time he was skin and bones.

I fed him food and water from an upright position after which I held him for half an hour while gravity took his food down to his stomach. At night and when I went out I tied his head so that he would have to sit up otherwise fluid would get into his lungs drowning him.

After six months he had his full weight back. As I was getting his food ready one day I heard a voice in my head that said clear as a bell, “I am okay, you know.”

“Are you?” I said. I put his food and water on the floor. He ate and drank.

One in Canada did.

When I walked my dog I looked for four leaf clovers. I did not throw sticks or balls. I let him enjoy himself sniffing the earth, searching things out.

At Christmas I put the four leaf clovers I had found in books I had read  I passed on to friends. I did not wrap the books. The books themselves were the wrapping paper. Those who read the books unwrapped the gift hidden inside.

In 1979 I was in Hay-On-Wye in Wales. The town is famous the world over for used books. When I went for a walk in the country side a small dog joined me. We were walking down a dirt road when suddenly he stopped. I figured he had business to do. I walked on while he did it. I looked back, saw he had not moved, walked on, looked back again, walked on further, looked back, saw he had not moved. I returned. I bent down, tweaked his right ear, said, “What’s up, fellow?”

At that his little pink tongue darted out drawing my attention to an eight-leaf clover in front of his nose.

In 1980 I was walking up Bathurst Street in Toronto when two dogs darted across the street towards myself and Reefer. They barked madly. Halfway across they turned to go back. As they did a car ran over the smaller of the two. Both the front and rear wheels of the car on the right hand side passed over the dog. To my surprise he was not dead. He got up, crossed the road, went to where some wood leaned against a house. He got under it.

Without thinking I crossed the street with my dog. I asked him to sit. He did. I got down on all fours by the dog that had been run over. I offered it my hand palm down. As I moved my hand towards it the dog snapped its jaws fiercely. It barked loud to warn me off. Softly I said to it over and over and over, “It’s okay.”

At last the dog snapped its jaws shut on my hand. I expected my hand to be bloodied, torn. It wasn’t. As its jaws shut down I said softly, “It’s okay.”

At that the dog became completely calm. On my third finger was just the slightest dent in the flesh. That is how much self control it had.

Its owner, attracted by the noise, came out. I told her what had happened.

One night a fellow I met by chance said, “You are Reg Hartt. I can talk to you.”

“What do you want to talk about?”

“Louise Brooks,”

“I have a copy of her film, PANDORA’S BOX. Come. I will show it to you.

After watching the film he told me the most important person in his life was his grandmother. I decided to call my last surviving grandmother, my mother’s mother, in Rothwell, New Brunswick.

My aunt Betty answered. She said her mother was dying. I said, “It is not her time.”

My mother said, “It is her time.”

I said, “It is not.”

After my mother her brother called. He said, “It is her time.”

I said, “It is not. What does she like to eat?”

Her favorite food was Kentucky Fried Chicken.

The nearest out let was fifty miles away in Fredericton. I do not have a credit card.

On my promise I would send payment the next day the KFC outlet in Fredericton sent a barrel of chicken plus extra large fries, gravy and salad. They also covered the cost of the cab to deliver it.

Then I called my aunt Betty.

My grandmother lived because a chance encounter with a stranger whom I welcomed into my life prompted me to call her.

More than a few people say I am crazy. Happily, they are right.

I have faith. My faith comes not from what I have read in books. It comes from what I have experienced in my life. I love strangers. In Toronto welcoming strangers into our homes is illegal. Too bad for Toronto.

All of my best friends came to my door as strangers. As Thoreau said, “Any fool can make a law. Every fool will keep it.”

Bigger fools will enforce it.

–Reg Hartt 12/26/2016.


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