A few months after Joseph’s second birthday, we realized he was tall enough and dexterous enough
to open door knobs. My wait began for the day when I had shut him safely in the family room to
run to the bathroom or other destination only to find him coming along.
 
One afternoon after we had been playing in the back yard, I came in to make hamburger patties
for the grill and put Joseph in the family room with a Winnie-the-Pooh video. Teddy had decided
to stay in the backyard and let the summer breeze flow through his hair.
 
While I had my hands in hamburger, I heard a single bark at the door between the deck and family
room and began to wash my hands so I could let Teddy in. Then what to my wondering eyes
should appear but Joseph, slowly backing away from the television, eyes still glued on Winnie,
moving toward the door. He opened it, let Teddy in, laughed when Ted licked his ear while going
by, closed the door, and went back to the television, all the while seemingly unaware I was in the
house at all.
 
Teddy sauntered into the kitchen to get a drink, while Mom hovered over him asking how long
this had been going on. Teddy said nothing. Within weeks, Joseph started popping in on me in the
bathroom, and we bought childproof door guards to keep him contained. Eventually he figured
out how to disassemble them, and we started locking every door with a lock. Joseph spoke and
made eye contact rarely, but he had considerable engineering skills.

For our next holiday, we stayed at Jeff’s parents’ home.  The trip took a little more than seven
hours in a rented van, with the new element that Joseph had learned how to get out of his car
seat. Keeping him in was a struggle, a constant battle to keep him amused until we hit a
convenient stopping place. Then we would have to wrestle him back into the car. Teddy simply
slept in the back.

By the time we got to the house, it was late afternoon and we were drooping. Jeff’s parents had
set up two bedrooms for us for the first time, one with a crib for Joseph and the other for us.
We had talked on the phone and agreed that Joseph might sleep better (he was waking a lot over-
night) in a quiet room by himself with no distractions. The baby monitor would tell us overnight
if he woke.

Jeff put Joseph down for a nap, I put myself down for a nap, and Teddy positioned himself in
the hallway between the two bedroom doors while Jeff and his parents ran some errands.

At some point, I was jolted out of a sound sleep by Teddy STANDING on my chest, barking and
licking and thoroughly aroused. I mumbled something that isn’t printable and tried to catch my
breath and wake up. When I was sitting, he stood by the door, barking and milling about. It was
only in the hall that I heard Joseph’s voice, softly half-mewling, half-crying.

Teddy rushed ahead of me and stood by the crib. I stood and stared. Joseph was sitting in a pile of
debris that had once been a lamp. The base was in the crib with the cord dangling downward from
the height of a tall bureau. The shade, metal collar, light bulb, and other pieces were lying about
in the crib.

I got everything out of the crib quickly, settled Joseph down, and looked at Teddy, who was sitting
quietly. When Jeff and his parents came home, I showed them the pile of former lamp and asked
where it had been. They had estimated Joseph’s reach and moved the lamp to the back of the
bureau top along with a dresser scarf and some other things. They had either underestimated his
reach or he had somehow crawled out of the crib. I think he saw it, stubbornly became determined
to have it, and stretched himself out until he reached it.

I still don’t know what motivated Teddy to wake me as he did. He had never done it before, and
he never did it again. I believe he realized somehow that Joseph was in trouble and he needed to
get Mommy. I know that Teddy was our shepherd, our good shepherd, up to and including the
day he died.

When Jeff’s father died a few years ago, the last of our parents to pass, Joseph told me he had
gone to Heaven to be with Teddy. Not Gran, Jeff’s mother, but Teddy. I suspect if I asked Joseph
where Heaven is, he would point to the sky, and if I asked what Heaven is, he would tell me it is
where Teddy is.