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Thought Provoking Issues!

Forgive Me, Dexter . . .

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If you happened to have read the article that preceded this one (In Search of a Diamond), then you know the events that surrounded my romantic weekend getaway.

What I did not mention since it really had no bearing on the aforementioned article was the events that occurred prior to my wife and I leaving, and how it made me appreciate and spoke volumes about my eldest daughter.

Permit me to provide a little history, to better clarify, exactly what led to the events that transpired on that morning.

I took the entire family on vacation, which consisted of visiting Water Country and Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia. Prior to us leaving, my wife and I decided to ask our next-door neighbor, to look after our three cats and our resilient pleco every other day.

My daughter wanted her pet hamster, Dexter to be cared by one of her friends. I knew this particular friend of hers, and was hesitant about leaving, Dexter, with her, since she was the owner of two very large dogs.

My daughter insisted that Dexter would be fine, and pleaded with me not to second-guess her decision.

While we vacationed, my daughter was excited about the pictures of, Dexter that her friend sent. We arrived back home at 10:30p.m. on Friday. I wanted to go and pick up, Dexter, but my daughter felt it was too late.

The following morning, my wife and I wanted to leave early to start our romatic weekend getaway. My daughter said that wouldn’t be possible because her friend’s family were not early risers on the weekends. In fact she explained that it was almost impossible to raise them before noon.

I told her that simply would not do. I instructed her to text her friend every half an hour commencing from nine until she received a reply that Dexter could be picked up.

Two hours later, my daughter told me she still had not received a reply. I started thinking the worst. I confided in my wife that perhaps something happened to, Dexter, and that is why our daughter’s friend could not be reached.

Around noon we received word that Dexter could be picked up in thirty minutes. The house was on the corner. I parked slightly before it. I grew impatient since fifteen minutes had elapsed and there was so sign of my daughter.

She finally emerged from the house ten minutes later, empty-handed.  As she approached the car I wondered what fabulous tale would she tell me. I knew the occupants of the house were home, since I had seen my daughter’s friend’s brother departing from the back door.

She got in the car without uttering a single word.  When I queried about, Dexter’s whereabouts, she started crying. I was able to make out through the avalanche of tears, that the friend presented, Dexter, in a closed box.

She told my daughter that sometime around midnight, Dexter somehow had gotten out of his cage and died when her dogs were playing with him.

I was flabbergasted.

I wanted to know why didn’t they inform us earlier. Why wasn’t a phone call made from the morning? Why kind of parents would let their child handle the situation in such a manner?

My daughter said that her friend’s mother had come out and apologized. She also offered to pay for a new hamster.

“Why didn’t you take him?” I demanded.

“I just couldn’t,” she cried. “I don’t want to remember him like that.”

I drove home in disgust. I was fuming at how my daughter’s friend’s parents had handled the situation. To them it was only a hamster . . . something that could easily be replaced with money.

Never mind the pain and anguish my daughter was suffering. Never mind that their daughter had been irresponsible in taking care of a friend’s pet.

My daughter agonized over Dexter’s death for several days.

As for me, it was the proudest I have ever been of my daughter. The hamster was purchased to teach her responsibility. The first one had died from pneumonia because of an open window in her room.

We purchased, Dexter a year later, and counseled her on the need to protect and care for her pet. He had been with us for a full year before this incident happen.

My daughter had grown attached to this simple animal, and although he perished through no fault of her own, she learned an invaluable lesson . . . no amount of money could ever take his place.

So I echo the sentiment of my daughter, forgive me, Dexter . . . I should have never allowed you to be put in harm’s way.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

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