A few years ago when my son Caleb
was still in college, I wrote this story for him and his guide dog Esther.
Esther jumped up on the bed and
started growling and licking her friend Caleb.
Caleb hugged her back, but he
gave a big yawn. She looked at his cell phone. It was only three in the
morning. This should be a good time to play.
“Shh shh, don’t wake up David.”
David was their roommate.
“Why? I can go jump on his bed,”
Esther said, panting happily.
“No, no,” Caleb said, putting his
arms around her. “Let’s just try to sleep.”
Sleep? Esther didn’t know what
kind of fun that would be, but she pushed Caleb over so she had enough room in
the bed, and took a big breath to sleep. She breathed on Caleb’s face, and her
breath smelled nice and stinky, just the way Caleb liked it.
Esther enjoyed playing with Caleb
all day long. They played in classrooms, in the lab with all the computer
stuff, in their room, where Caleb teased her and threw her toys and tried to
tug them out of her mouth. Sometimes she let him win these games. They went to
the eating room, but only Caleb got to eat there. He told her to lay down under
the table, and he didn’t drop any crumbs for her, but at least the food smelled
And sometimes they got together
with friends, and went to people’s houses and to restaurants. Caleb’s friends
all loved Esther, and she liked them too.
But Esther wanted an adventure.
“Caleb,” she said on another
night, scooting him over in bed at 4:00 a.m. “I want an adventure.”
“Huh? What?” Caleb said. “What do
“An adventure,” Esther said
Caleb finally woke up and sat up
to give her a hug. “What kind of adventure?” He asked.
“I want to go home, and visit our
family, all by myself. I want to get on the bus and ride it by myself.”
“Hmmmm, well,” Caleb said. “That
would be an adventure. Let’s think about it for a while, okay?”
That was the problem with humans.
They wanted to take time to think about things all the time. Dogs knew that the
best way to get anything done was to jump up, growl, pant, turn in circles, and
go, go, go!
Esther asked Caleb about this
adventure a couple times again in the next few days. He just said, “Hmmmm. That’s
an interesting idea.”
Esther finally decided one day
she would just go. Caleb wouldn’t mind.
They were in the lab, and Caleb
was working on the computer. He was looking at something interesting and hadn’t
said anything to Esther in quite a while. This would be a good time.
Esther got up and didn’t even
shake her ears. She walked quietly out of the room, making sure her toe nails
didn’t touch the floor.
She passed an office with the
door open. The guy said, “Hey, Esther, what are you doing? Are you going to get
She just kept walking. That was
dumb. She couldn’t get a drink of water without Caleb’s help. Come to think of
it, she was kind of thirsty.
She had to wait for someone to
come in the building, than caught the door while it was open and went out. Once
outside, she jumped up and down. She felt like her adventure was really
She saw a guy who was in one of
Caleb’s classes. “Hey, Esther, where are you going? Where is Caleb?”
She just kept walking. She didn’t
try to answer. Caleb was the only human smart enough to understand her when she
After a minute she looked behind
her. Good. The guy wasn’t looking at her any more, and he had passed the
building where Caleb was. He wasn’t giving up her secret.
Soon she saw the big bus that she
and Caleb rode on. She hurried and jumped on and looked around for something
fun to see or do.
A lady sitting nearby dropped
something on the floor that looked like a rope toy. Esther grabbed the rope and
The lady grabbed the other end
and pulled hard. Oh, this was fun, growl, growl, pull, pulllll.
But then the lady yelled. “Hey,
somebody help! This dog is trying to take my purse.”
Esther quickly let go. The lady
must not want to play after all.
“Hey, grab the dog!” somebody
yelled. Several people tried to grab her, but Esther managed to slip through
their hands. What was wrong?
“Hey,” somebody else yelled,
“Isn’t that the dog that belongs to that blind guy? Why did he let her out by
Now they sounded like they were
mad at Caleb. She didn’t want people to get mad at Caleb.
A few other people tried to get
her. There was a lot of yelling. “Don’t let her get away!” “Grab her! Grab
her!” but she kept pulling away, and then -- oh good – the door opened.
Esther got out and started
running. She wasn’t sure which way to go, but she just wanted to get away from
those scary people.
Finally she had to stop running. She
stood still, trembling and panting. She looked both ways, but it didn’t look
like anyone was following her.
After a few minutes she felt better
and started walking again. She was not sure which way to go. She looked around
for something that looked like she had seen it before or had been there with
Then there was a guy coming
toward her. “Hey puppy!” he said to her. She didn’t like people calling her
puppy, except Mama Kathy.
He moved closer to her. “Hey,
puppy, want to come home with me?”
No, she did not want to come home
with him. He was kind of a sketchy looking guy.
Before he could touch her, Esther
started running again, as fast as she could. After a little while, she saw the
bus with the numbers Two and Six on it
That Caleb had taught her. Esther was scared
of getting on a bus now, but when it stopped, she got on. She had to find home.
Esther moved as far to the back
as she could, and went under a seat. After a few minutes, she heard a lady’s
voice that she thought she’d heard before. “Hey, aren’t you Esther? Where’s
Esther tried to pull even farther
back under the seat. But the lady didn’t say anything else.
After a few minutes Esther lifted
her face just a little bit and tried to look out the window. There were some
places that looked like they might be close to home. There was that big store
where Caleb sometimes bought her bag of food. Oh, and there was the nice church that was on
the end of the street where home was. The next time the bus stopped, Esther
quickly got off.
Esther started running again. She
was almost there.
When she got home, she almost
barked. She ran up the steps, and banged against the front door, whining as
loud as she could.
Daddy Murray opened the door, and
best of all – there was Caleb!
She ran to Caleb and jumped up on
him, giving his face lots of kisses. Then she ran around the house, through the
kitchen, the dining room, living room, and then she ran it all over again. Finally
she stopped in the living room and fell to her belly. She rubbed around on the
floor and whined happily.
Mama Kathy was sitting in her
chair. Esther went to her, and Mama rubbed her side until Esther fell down so
Mama could rub her belly. Oh, it was good to be home.
After a little while, Caleb
picked Esther up and carried her up to their room. She loved when Caleb carried
her. Caleb put Esther on their bed and said, “I’m so glad to see you. I was
afraid you might be hurt, Esther.”
“It was scary,” Esther said. “People
got mad at me just because I tried to play the rope game with a lady. And a
sketchy guy tried to take me to his house. And I couldn’t find the way home for
a long time.”
“Please promise me you won’t go
off by yourself again, Esther.”
“I promise,” Esther said, whining
happily and licking Caleb all over the face. “Next time I go on an adventure,
I’ll take you with me.”