What Makes a Hero?
By Deborah Taylor-French
This photograph does not remind me of heroes I have admired, yet later as I grew up and read history texted, many countries and cities name a hero as a man or woman who fought for freedom or the right for that nation to exist.
My sharpest memory is of a completely different kind of hero. A hero that our family loved, including all our pets. If you want to be your dog’s hero be sure you show your dog daily interest, take him or her for walks, play games your dog likes such as tossing toys, playing tug or teach tricks for treats.
My Hero When I Was Five
Remembering back to when we lived in a cabin in Hayfork, California, the world of snow settles in like a large cat intending to stay. The town remains without a single stoplight and a population of under 3,000 people living off long driveways and steep single land roads.
The California Trinity Alps consist of rocky crags and pinewoods, which lay hot and rattlesnake dry in summer, lovely in autumn and spring. In every season, our father went to work, and all day, everyday he worked in a lumber mill grading lumber. His job consisted of flipping 4 x 4, 2 x 6 and other standard width cuts of redwood, pine and fir so that he might grade it for proper use in framing apartments, single family homes, business buildings and fencing.
I do not think I knew the word ‘heroic’ at the age of five. But Dad fit my ideal person. At the end of each workday, he would pull off his muddy work boots and leave them on the porch. Before he could open our front door, our pet parakeet, like a crazy rockstar fan, fluttered down from his perch. When Dad stepped in the bird, lets call him Greened Jack, would hop his way over. Then the bird, using his beak and claws, would climb up Dad’s work overalls, up his flannel shirt to sit on Dad’s shoulder. This repeated nightly show made an lifelong impression on me. And our Dad clearly loved that bird, as he loved all our pets. He talked to the bird and let it nip him on the ear while we visited.
When I grew older I felt jealous that our pets loved Dad best. But he had the most natural healing touch, when we were ill, Dad was the one who nursed us. So, yes Dad fit my five year old idea of a hero. His heroic actions were consistent love and interest in his family and pets.
I still see my Dad as a hero. He faithful took wonderful care of us and until I grew up and began walking the neighbor’s dog, I didn’t know how important everyday is in the life of a child or a dog.
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