Sunday, April 20, 2008

Por que Dog Blog

What a weird name for my blog you say? Here is the story behind it.

As long as I can remember, I have been at best a tolerator of pets...there have been times when I can say that I have HATED having pets, in particular, dogs. We always had dogs growing up and much of my family of origin liked pets a lot. Maybe I was jealous of the attention other family members gave the dogs...I don't know. Whatever the reason, I did not like dogs, had no desire to own one.

We got our first dog, a German Shorthaired Pointer, about 6 years into our marriage. David did 99.9% of the care-taking of Beau. He was a beautiful dog. Dave spent a lot of time with him and taught him to be a very good boy! However he did have his share of neuroses and quirks: afraid of tile floors, scared of the oven door, the vacumn cleaner, thunder and he did lift his leg on my dad once - in the house. GROSS. He was great with the kids, though. He loved playing fetch - he'd play forever. They'd hide his eyes and hide the ball in our house and he'd use his super-sniffer to find it.

Even though he was such a great doggy, I had little appreciation for Beau until he had to be put down in September of 2001. (One week after 9/11) He had had some seizures that scrambled his brain. The vet had us give him some antibiotic, thinking he had some kind of infection, but the seizures continued. One night, as Beau came out of a terrible seizure, he seemed very disoriented and acted like he did not know us. He had a frightened look in his eye. He growled and started to chase Elly. David chased down Beau, calling his name, which seemed to snap him out of it and no harm came to El. (Thank you, Jesus!) But we decided then that we could not have a dog in the house that we could not trust. We had him put down that afternoon.

Our family was devastated by his death. Dave, Dan and our girls cried for weeks. Literally. I had a hard time seeing them all in such pain. I suggested privately to David that we get a new Shorthair for Christmas. He knew I had no deep love for dogs and was shocked I'd suggest such a thing. I thought maybe getting a new pup would distract and comfort our grieving fam. We gave each of our kiddos photos of our new puppy (that we had picked out a couple of weeks prior to the holiday...) on Christmas morn and went and picked up 'Bella' the day after Christmas in a town about an hour south of us. For our kids, it was love at first sight.

But what were we thinking???? Bella was cute, but grew fast and it seemed like no one wanted to pay much attention to her, to teach her. I think everyone just wanted Beau and maybe we expected Bella to act like him automatically. She grew up to be a pill, always trying to bolt out the front door and impossible to catch when she did escape. She'd tree a squirrel in our backyard and bark and yipe interminably at Mr. Squirrel. She would not come when called. Oi. I must say, I hated that dog. And I let everyone know it. I'm embarassed now to say that when she'd tree a squirrel and would not come in, I'd chunk rocks at her and yell at her. (it didn't do any good, of course)

Fast forward to a couple of years ago...I was preparing to take Freakezoid Bella to the vet. She was a stressful mess when we'd go to the vet: so excited to see other animals and very hard to control. I was commenting to our kids how much I did not want to go. Bree asked why I hated Bella so much. I replied that I hated her for many reasons, but that day, I hated her because I was about to spend $100 plus bucks on a dumb dog that I would so much rather spend on my kids! Bree's reply: "Mom, I love Bella so much that when you spend money on her, it is like you are spending money on me."

Ouch. That was a shot to the heart. I felt terribly guilty! And I started asking the Lord to help me at least like the dog. I asked often.

A couple of months later, I noticed that when I would enter our home from the garage and ascend our steps to the main floor, I began to look forward to the greeting Bella would give me: the wagging hiney, the happy dance. She had always greeted me this way. I just didn't notice it before. I was astonished that even though I was not a big fan of hers, she did not care...she greeted me as if I was her best friend. (Major spiritual lesson in there somewhere...)

Also, she started sitting at my feet in the evenings when we'd all be in the living room together. I was puzzled by this, but it was endearing. Pretty soon, my family was astounded that I was inviting Bella to sit with me on the couch. I think I was amazed too.

It dawned on me one day that I was starting to like her. The Lord was answering my prayer, changing my heart over a period of months. This was not a small thing. I had HATED that dog! When I asked God to help me to like her, I didn't think He would actually do it! (O, ye of little faith!) A short time after this, our kids started commenting what a relief it was to them that I was liking Bella. I had no idea how saddened they were that I didn't like her.

During this time of change, my sister, Bone, and her family came to visit us from California. They brought their dog, Petey, a white boxer. I really liked Petey...such a nice temperament. That got me to thinking about boxers. David and I both talked at length about getting another dog. We looked in the paper every Sunday for many months for ads for boxers. To make a long story short, we bought Easton in September of 2006. Below find a photo of our new baby! Isn't he cute? He is almost two now and (I never thought I'd say this...) he is a joy.

I think this Doggy Love is so significant to me because I am changed because I prayed! Jesus heard me. My kids continue to comment about how they notice me enjoying the dogs. And I am emboldened to ask the Lord to keep changing me. I have a new hope in Him. I see His work and I am amazed.

1 comment:

julie martin said...

isn't it funny how we ask God to change us and then are surprised when He does? thanks for the great story and reminder to ASK!

p.s. remember joanne? and remember spending hours playing "what's the dog's name?"