Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dogs

I'm not sure there was ever a day growing up that we were without a dog in the house. First we had the Irish Setter show dogs, Sean and Meghan. Then we had the Springer Spaniel, "Chocolate Sundae" (many of our dogs were named after sweets), and the brief stay of a Cock-a-(standard)Poo. Then began the series of Cockers we had...Taffy, Spicy, Duke, Holly, and their litters of puppies...and I'm sure there are some others I'm forgetting! There were also a couple cats...Oreo, Cookies 'n Cream...a few birds and lots of fish over the years. Maybe even a hamster that my brother drowned in the sink...

Although I wouldn't call myself a dog-"lover", I do enjoy having a dog and am glad to be married to a fellow dog-liker. We've told poor Mary Clare that her savings for a cat is in vain. We have no interest in a kitty anytime soon (so now she claims she is saving for another dog). After a few months of dating, 10 years ago Steven bought Timber, our yellow lab. Timber has seen many homes in his day...that first sketchy apartment he chewed up, the "Vineyard" community house where he lived illegally, Steven's parent's house, my parent's house, a few apartments, a duplex with a small yard, and finally our home here where we hope to be for a long time and he can spend his final years.

Having a dog has its perks...the barking when someone comes near the house, guarding the back door, entertaining the baby for awhile, and keeping us company. But of course it has its downsides too...food, vet bills, broken dishes, food eaten off the plate, being sure he is fed and "watered", the digging, and the hair. The hair. I told Steven the other day that we would probably find Timber hairs on our stuff 50 years down the road! We can determine how long it's been since Steven has vacuumed by the amount of dog hair in the vacuum. Watch out for black outfits, they will be covered! And it's so lovely to see that stray hair hanging out of Stevie's mouth!

How could I forget the escapes??? Timber loves an open door. He is quick and has made many escapes down the road, especially in our current home. Once we lost him for a few days when some children down the street decided to keep him. He always wears a collar now! Mary Clare has started to cry when he escapes because she knows that the neighborhood cop has warned me that he will issue me a ticket the next time he finds him! I have failed to "register" Timber with the city and am apparently a lax dog owner since he gets out so much. Thankfully this officer has yet to be the one to find Timber on his most recent tirades!

But escapes, hair, and all, Timber has served us well these 10 years. He has put up with much more than other dogs with all our moves. He is patient with us when we leave him for long periods of time, and he puts up with rain and heat when need be. He doesn't get many walks or much playing catch these days, but he's still a happy faithful dog. He makes us smile. He makes us laugh.

Steven always says, "I hope to be as good a man as my dog thinks I am." I'm not sure Timber thinks I'm a very good woman...I'm usually short and quick with him, whether throwing the food in his bowl, shoving him out the door, or yelling at him for eating something he shouldn't have. But maybe in being more patient, more kind, and more gentle with Timber, I can be those things to my children too. In showing respect for animals I am exhibiting love of God's creation. By gently doing even those mundane tasks like putting food in his bowl, I will become a more gentle person. So this is my challenge. Love Timber like he loves us!

Look at how patient he is!


3 comments:

ROSA E OLIVIER said...

Piú giú, in fondo alla tuscolana...!?...passavo per un saluto!

one lucky woman said...

I had rabbits growing up and they were also named after sweets, mostly chocolates...

Lael said...

I liked this. We aren't "dog-lovers" either, but we had a lab mix named Pandora that I took for granted (and unfortunately often ignored) after seven years and 3 kids. Then she was hit by a car and died a little over a year ago. That was when I realized how great she was. Your post made me think of her. It's great that you are trying to appreciate Timber.

Oh - and we've moved twice since Pandora died and I do STILL find her white/yellow hair on some of our stuff - especially coats and fleece blankets. yuck.

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