Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Gone to the Dogs

This past week I've done some reflecting on the role pets have in our lives. I never fancied myself a dog lover. To say the least! Now I grew up with dogs - there was Tippy whom I have only the vaguest memory of. Then there was Smoki. The very day that old Tippy had to be put down my mom & dad came home with Smoki. He was cute, for sure. But he was mom's dog and her responsibility. Smoki was their third child.

After having kids of my own we ventured into the world of dog ownership once. Briefly. One of our kids pestered and pestered for a pet dog so in a weak moment we relented and brought home an adorable (HAHAHAHA) beagle. This dog, named Snoopy, of course, had one mission in life and was to escape from every single form of restaint and containment known to man. Fenced yard - yep - climbed over the fence. Tied to a rope in the fenced yard - yep - chewed through the rope and then climbed the fence. We even tried chaining her and still she broke free. It was a relationship that obviouly wasn't meant to be. But it took a run in with the mailman to seal the deal. But that's another story.
From time to time the kids asked if we could try a dog again and the answer has always been NO. I was not interested in ANY part of dog ownership again. Confirmed each time I visited my good friend and neighbor Cindy, whose two huge fierce black labs liked to alternately show me their teeth, bark and growl at me and then lick me! EEWWW! I am just not a dog person.
Back to the point of this post - the role pets have in our lives. Okay about 9 years ago Tom & I were out shopping the week before Christmas and we stopped at Tractor Supply for some bird feeder food. And there in the store was a rescue group showing dogs and cats that had been taken from kill shelters and were now being offered for adoption. Well there was this one dog. A medium size black Lab mix and she was so cute so we took her for a little walk around the store and then we purchased our bird food and left. But not before getting the phone number of the foster dog mom. And during the next few days we had many conversations about trying a dog again......you know the conversation......anyways we brought Murphy home one snowy afternoon between Christmas and New Years. It has been a wonderful experience having Murphy. (So much so that a few years later we brought home another dog. But that is another story too!)
Fast forward to this summer. Last week Cindy had to put down the last of her two "huge fierce" dogs. And as we sat on her deck that afternoon waiting for her husband to come home and take Toby for his last ride to the vet I was realizing that when you bring a pet into your family the odds are really good that you will outlive that pet and one day have to make a very painful and unselfish decision. And I was thinking that I had not even thought about that when I brought Murphy and Cadi home. And I was thinking that Murphy will be 10 next month and that Cadi just turned 6. And I realized that somewhere along the line I've gone to the dogs!

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