05 Vinces dogSome moments in this life just stop you in your tracks. And I think they’re meant to. I’ve been looking for this dog since my grandpa passed in 2011. And then, the search intensified when we lost my grandma in 2016. All of this is because when I was asked what I wanted of theirs, this was the first thing that came to mind.

Picture 10-year-old Allison spending the night at her grandparents’ house, as she often did, and hearing a conversation between my uncle, Stephen A. Fonke, and Grandpa about “putting a name on something” at the house.

I asked what that meant, and Grandpa explained that when you have eight kids, you have to decide some of what people get when you die ahead of time so there aren’t any misunderstanding or arguments. I thought this was an odd thing to discuss back then, but I get it now; emotions can run high when you’re grieving. So, naturally, he asked what I wanted. Without a pause, I said this little ceramic dog. It was a knickknack I was always allowed to play with at their house, and I thought that was outstanding.

Grandpa also told a lot of stories about his dad’s “police dog” that guarded his truck when he was a traveling salesman during the Depression, so that added to its coolness factor for me. With a twinkle in his eye, he picked up the dog, grabbed a pencil and wrote my name and the year on the dog’s belly. He put my name on it to cement this in my little kid mind. Through the years, I’d pick it up at their house and see my name. This would always bring a chuckle and a smile. Or a comment that my dog was still there.

After we lost both of my grandparents, my dad and I looked all over the house for the dog. My aunts did, too. But no dog was found – not even in the attic.

Today, we stopped by Jerry and Carolina’s house for Scott to get adjusted before his marathon tomorrow. Carol told me she had something for me ... of all things, it was my dog! She said years ago, either Grandpa or Grandma asked for her help with gluing it (because it was broken in half), and then it had been put in a drawer and forgotten. She opened it recently and found this dog.

It’s fixed, and she said she saw my name and knew there must be a story there. And as there always was with Grandpa, there certainly was a story. I don’t doubt that this came to me right when I needed it. Starting a new dog-focused business next month, I’m sure this is God’s way of sending my grandpa’s encouragement and excitement for me in this venture, right when I needed some. Though we have people we miss, if we look for them and talk about them, they seem to show up.

I’m incredibly grateful that this has always been the way of my life. And I’m so thankful for the moments my grandparents took, especially the little ones, that turned into tender memories. They are so loved and continue to show love, even from the other side. And what a legacy for us all to aspire to.

We are so blessed.

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