The Dog I Didn’t Want

January 11, 2019 by

Another letter to Kiera from our blogger Eva. This letter is part of a series.

Dear Kiera,

Does your family have a pet? Let me tell you a funny story about how we got a dog. At the time, Hans-Peter and I were living in Germany, and our son Karsten was almost three. Two of my younger sisters, Esther and Brigitte, lived there too.

One day Esther got a phone call: “My name is Johanna Hertz, and I’m looking for a Christian home for my dog. Someone gave me your phone number. You’re at a Christian community, right?”

“Yes,” Esther covered the mouthpiece to hide a giggle. “What kind of dog did you say it was?”

“Cora is a bearded collie. She’s a purebred with pedigree papers,” Mrs. Hertz said. “A valuable dog. I’m giving her, not selling her. I hate to see her go, but the new man in my life is allergic to dogs, bless him, so it’s one or the other for me.”

“A collie for free,” Esther said to herself, already imagining herself loping alongside a beautiful Lassie-come-home. Quickly she took down the lady’s phone number, promising to call back. Then she ran to find Brigitte. “Brigs, this lady called and needs a Christian home for her collie. Would you help me look after it?”

“A collie? Really? Wow. Sure, we’re good Christians,” Brigitte said with a laugh. “The dog can take me on early morning jogs. When you call back, remember to ask the lady to bring dogfood along.”

little boy with dog
Karsten and Cora

The very next afternoon I was there alongside my sisters as Mrs. Hertz, a middle-aged lady, stepped out of the car and opened the back door. Out bounced the hairiest dog I’d ever laid eyes on. I couldn’t even see her eyes as they were covered with a mass of grey-and-white hair. The hair covering her muzzle was wet with drool, and she was panting with her tongue hanging out. This is crazy, I thought. Poor Esther. This was no Lassie – this was a dust mop.

“Here’s Cora,” Mrs. Hertz said brightly. “She’s a bit hot from the ride over, but she’ll be fine. She’s fifteen months old and house-trained, aren’t you, Cora.”

My sisters took the papers, managed to thank the lady, and got basic tips on how to care for the dog. Mrs. Hertz left, promising to come by soon and visit.

As soon as her car was out of sight, Esther went frantic and I doubled over with laughter. After all, it wasn’t my problem. Later that day I told my husband about the fix Esther had gotten herself into.

“Really? Where is she now?” he asked, and was gone. Oh great, I thought. He doesn’t want to get involved. But I was wrong. He found my sister, saw the dog, and had pity for them both. “I’ll take the dog. It will be good for Karsten,” he said.

Well, at first I was really mad at my husband for getting this dog, and I would not let it set foot in our house. But morning and evening I could hear her outside in her kennel, whining for us. When I looked out the window, she looked so woebegone that I felt sorry for her. “I suppose we can let her stay on our porch where she can see us better,” I said after a day or so.

What made me love Cora, and eventually allow her into our home, was the way she looked after Karsten. She was so gentle and was a good companion. Evenings, if we left Karsten with a babysitter and went out for a walk, Cora would plant herself in front of Karsten’s bedroom door. I couldn’t ask for anything better!

Later one of my friends sent me this quote as a joke: “A bad hair day means you lived well!” I thought of Cora and answered, “You’re absolutely right!”

Kiera, if you don’t have a dog as a pet, you just might get lucky someday, like me.

Your pen pal,



About the author

Eva Hormann portrait

Eva Hormann

Eva and her husband, Hans-Peter, live at Beech Grove, a Bruderhof in England.

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