What Money Can't Buy

The canine breeding business is a trying one. Summer is one big marathon of feeding, cleaning, chasing, washing, feeding, cleaning…you get the idea. The puppies make up for it, though, by being irresistibly cute and making great photographic subjects. The people can be incredibly frustrating, especially the ones that want to scoff at the price (which is ridiculously low in this business), or get mad at me because I’ve already sold the only female born (as if I had any control over that!), or try to act like they know more than me about the breed or raising a pup (when even my unprofessional eyes can see that they are clueless). But as with everything, there’s a silver lining…the look on the kids’ faces when they see the pups, or the sound of the man’s voice who says he’s waited 20 years for his own dog makes it all worth it.

I could tell many stories of the people who’ve walked in and out of my life through the puppies. But there’s one couple in particular that will forever stand out in my heart.

They were the first to come see out litter of Beagle pups in mid-July, a friendly, middle-aged couple that I couldn’t help but like. I noticed several distinct things about them. They were extremely affectionate and attentive to the puppies, and appreciative of my time. They were intense, as if they enjoyed every single second of living. And they seemed so in touch with each other, so in love, almost like newlyweds, only on a level a hundred times deeper.

They intrigued me, and I sat contentedly with them as they admired the pups for nearly two hours. During that time, I came to learn their story.

Not even a year before, they had lost their home, almost all of their belongings and their two Beagles in a house fire that occurred when they were out of town. All they had left was a small trailer home, the Lab that was with them, the few pieces of furniture in the trailer and the clothes they were wearing.

During a later visit, when I watched the husband struggle to stand after kneeling to photograph the puppies, I learned that he had been in a car accident a few years before that had severed his leg at the knee. The doctors had been able to reconnect his leg, but it was obvious that there were certain things he could not do without pain.
They ended up choosing two pups, a male and female, and there were several times I could tell the wife was very close to tears.

As I was filling out their papers and explaining the details to them, the wife went to the car to get something. When she was out of earshot, the husband thanked me profusely and began to cry as he told me his wife had MS (multiple sclerosis). His eyes unashamedly filled with tears, and he said something I will never forget. “There are some things that money can’t buy.”
I couldn’t have been happier that not one, but two of my sweet pups were going to such precious people. But I was even happier that I had gotten a chance to know them.

Money can’t buy what I learned from them, their love for each other and for life. It can’t buy the joy and excitement on their faces as they came to pick up their puppies four weeks later. It can’t buy the sincerity and gratitude they showed me when the husband took my hand in both of his and said “You’re an angel”, and when the wife hugged me tightly.

They may not have had many earthly possessions, but that couple, more than anyone I’ve ever known…they had it all.



  1. Wow...what a powerful post! Brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing.


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