Mr.’ Hastings music filled the sun room. All the residents focused on the sound of the piano. Several staff came to listen and check up on their patients. Casper sat wagging his tail at this new surge of energy from Mrs., Cleaves. He looked at her pale blue eyes that now suddenly twinkled with excitement. He realized very quickly the cool presence at his side was Radar. Radar, too, was intrigued by the change that was washing over Mrs. Cleaves. He stood up on his hind legs and touched her knee; in a flash, he had licked her hand just as Casper had done. It was as if someone had turned a light on inside her.
Her nurse came quickly to her side.
“Mrs. Cleave’s, are you alright?” The nurse was near panic. She knew that several years ago her patient had a stroke and that was what had brought her to the retirement home. She was worried that all this excitement was raising the woman’s blood pressure. “Perhaps we should take you too your room…”
Casper stepped aside and watched as the light inside her seemed to warm the older lady. Her face relaxed and her mouth turned to a slight smile. She was humming. The old woman was humming. In the years that Casper had come to see her, Mrs. Cleaves had never made a sound. She had always smiled softly and petted the old dog with her frail hands.
“Dear are you getting ove excited?’ The nurse spoke.
Mr. Hastings finished his song. The residents began to applaud.
“Mmmmm More!” Mrs Cleaves spoke.
Casper barked his excitement at the sound of her voice. The pale blue eyes now twinkled with a fire within. Mrs. Cleaves turned her head and looked at Casper and gave him a knowing wink!
“Mmmmmmmmm More!’ She said again.
“Well I’ll be!’ The nurse looked at Mr. Hastings and at the dog. “Gentlemen, you have made a break-through here.” She waved to Mr. Hastings. “It would seem you have a fan…play on if you would.”
Casper looked at Radar, who was now hiding under the Piano bench. Radar looked tired and slightly frightened. His tail was between his legs. He wasn’t sure what had just happened.
“You did good.” Casper barked.
“Casper…” Meg was at his side. “Now settle down. We can’t have you barking like this.”
The music continued for most of the afternoon. The snow fell hard outside and the plows were pulled off the roads. Meg was set up with a cot for the night. Casper was allowed to go on the rounds and make sure all the residents were tucked safe in bed. Mrs. Cleaves was like a child in her excitement and reluctantly let Mr. Hastings out of her sight. He had come over to her when he finished playing and gently shook her hand.
Radar had disappeared after the residents had their meal. Casper hadn’t been looking for him, but did notice he was sitting by an exit door looking out at the dark snowy night. Casper walked to the door and whined. Meg reluctantly let him out and watched him from the door. To make it look good, Casper went about his business and spoke softly to the little white dog.
“You did something in there.” Casper stated more than asked.
“All I did was give her some love.” Radar sat in the snow. ” I give her love all the time, but I have never made her speak.”
“I had seen you lick her…and she seemed so happy…I wanted to lick her too.” Radar shuffled his paws,”Was that wrong?”
“No, my friend, that was a gift…..” Casper lifted his leg on a pile of snow. ” You gave a beautiful gift. Your kisses must be magic or something.”
“Magic? Huh?” Radar thought for a moment. “I don’t think I am magic…I know I have a job to do here…” He let the words hang
“A job?” Casper’s ears perked up
“I am here tonight for a reason.” Radar looked at his paws.
“Is it a good reason or a bad one?” Casper asked
“I think it depends on your perspective.” Radar sighed.,” We didn’t get snowed in here by chance….there is a reason for all things.”
“What is this job?” Casper asked.
“I am supposed to walk somebody home.” Radar looked at the big dog
“You are taking some one out on a night like this?” Casper shivered and headed back to the warmth of the building.
“I am taking someone to their forever home.” Radar sighed and disappeared.