Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance

No More Chains


dog running

The fence is falling down in the backyard of what used to be my parents’ house.  To be more accurate, it’s pretty much useless in the way back jungly part where the poison ivy has returned.

In trying to decide what to do about the fence, my husband and I discussed options. He’s been great about not telling me what to do since I told him that was a pet peeve of mine when we were dating. So, I asked him what he would do if it was all up to him. First he helped me clarify that my plan A is to eventually sell the house and not to put too much money into it outside of getting the bathroom redone. After that was clarified, he said he would do nothing and leave the dilapidated fence like it was.

This felt like a terrible option for me. As we talked, the reason came to the surface. When I was in elementary school, we had a dog named Hoppy. He was a Newfoundland/German Shepherd mix but looked something like a Gordon Setter.  Since we lived in military housing, Hoppy didn’t have a fenced in yard. He had a chain attached to his dog house. Dad let him run loose at night when we were stationed in California and took him to the canyon on weekends to run.  When we moved to Philadelphia and Dad went to Vietnam, Hoppy didn’t get much exercise. It’s not like I ignored him, but I didn’t walk him much because I was afraid he might get away from me. My biggest wish was that Hoppy could have a fenced in back yard so he wouldn’t have to be on a chain.  He did have a yard for three months when we stayed with my sister in Michigan, but then we moved  to New York and Hoppy went back on the chain.   I’d sit inside his dog house with him for hours and make up stories in my head, including the fenced yard fantasy.

While Dad was still in Vietnam, my mom who suffered from depression, told me a story about a sick little girl who needed Hoppy more than I did. She said they had a big fenced yard for him to run in.  I had to believe her.

Dad retired from the Marine Corps when I was 13. I was excited that we bought a house with a fenced in back yard for our new dog, Lobo, who lived most of his life in that big back yard plus walks around the neighborhood.  I wish Hoppy could have had that kind of life. When I bought a house of my own, having a fenced in back yard was the number one priority. Is it any wonder that the house I live in today has a fence in the back and the front?

Now, I’ve inherited my parents’ house with the fallen fence. When I think about selling that house, I think about a girl (or a boy, or a family) who might have a dog who needs a fenced in yard. And when I think about heaven, I see a lush green meadow with all the dogs I’ve ever loved running to meet me with Hoppy in the lead.


Author: JoAnna

An open minded, tree-hugging Jesus follower, former counselor, and life-long lover of animals, I'm returning to my creative roots and have published my first book: Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again as well as the short version: From Loneliness to Love.

16 thoughts on “No More Chains

  1. Ahhhh….crap! You made me cry! Darnit, fix that fence!

  2. Such events and situations leave deep-rooted feelings

  3. A beautiful story that made me realize that we have always had the luxury of a fence, albeit sometimes invisible and electric, to allow our dogs the freedom to wander around their property. Ah, how dogs touch our lives.

    • I still feel sad when I see dogs on chains, but it’s good that things are getting better. Thank you for always making sure your dogs can wander around on their property.

  4. I get it, JoAnna! Amazing we can feel animals energy and KNOW what they are thunking…what they want.
    We had horses and they did not get ridden nearly enough and I had such empathy because they looked so bored!
    How is the bathroom coming along?
    Just a few finishing touches on the one I am working on 😉
    Have a super wonderful day!

    • It is amazing how we can feel each other’s energy. Animals are good teachers. The bathroom is done except for the painting which I’m doing myself next week. I took the toilet tank off myself (after watching a video) to put joint compound on a mess on the wall behind the tank. Kinda proud of myself. 🙂 I’m sort of enjoying it. Glad I took at least one before picture. I hope you enjoy your finished product and have a great day!

  5. There is something special about a child and a dog running free and playing. I’d fix the fence 🙂

  6. A sweet story, JoAnne

    • Thanks, Linda. I appreciate that feedback since I was wondering it it was too sad. It was hard for me to write, so I’m glad you liked it. ❤

  7. Digging deep here, JoAnna. Wow. I loved your story, It was a brave story to write, letting yourself be so vulnerable. I love stories that make me feel. Big hugs for this one. 😊

    • Thank you. I sure did some feeling writing it, even though this happened when I was 11 years old. Your understanding and appreciation means a lot. 🙂

Feel free to comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s