Friday, May 15, 2015

What It Takes To Fill An Empty Space

My family doesn't have a great history with dogs. Five kids meant life was chaotic; adding a four-legged creature to the mix didn't always end well.

There was Pepsi, a black lab mix who lived with us in Joshua, Texas. Pepsi disappeared - ran away or something. To be honest, I can't remember what happened to her. (Five kids under the age of four, okay? DON'T JUDGE ME.)

There was Barker, a little beagle that we got when we lived in Fort Worth. We had a fenced back yard, but Barker was able to jump up on the air conditioning unit and leap over the 6' privacy fence. Or maybe he dug out under the fence. Either way, he got out, ran into the street, and I'll leave the end of that sad story to your imagination.

We had a cute little spaniel mix in Chagrin Falls. Max was a good dog, and fortunately, he lived a good, long life. We couldn't keep him when we moved, and his new family took good care of him until he passed.

Our heart strings were tugged hard one Christmas several years ago, when we ran into somebody at Powhatan Pharmacy who had a miniature pinscher. He was up for adoption, and we were suckers, and so we got into something we just couldn't handle. That poor dog did NOT have the right temperament for our family, and eventually we had to return him to his original adoptive parents.

At least he didn't die.

So, we've not been a Dog Family. We had a cat that eventually moved in with Tony (before we moved in with Tony), and Louie has been King of the Castle for seven years now. Tony loves Louie; the rest of us tolerate him (or so we say; truth be told, we're all fond of him, but he has Tony's heart, which has caused me no end of jealousy - but that's another story, one that's probably too embarrassing to tell).

(Where was I?)

David has asked for a dog for years now - seriously, since before Tony and I were married. Daniel moved out to go to school in Richmond for school last September, and David - accustomed to a full house and four siblings - was alone at home. One of the downsides of being the youngest; everybody else leaves before you do.

It was obvious that the time was right. To me, anyway. Tony, The Cat Guy, remained unconvinced.

So for 9 months now, I've been reading and researching and asking questions and investigating and planting seeds and ideas...and a few weeks ago, David and Tony and I had a come-to-Jesus conversation and I got the green light.

Now, to be honest, I'm not sure Tony saw it exactly that way. I don't know that he'd say that conversation ended with anything other than a yellow caution - but, as an optimist, I see the glass half full, and I went with what I had, which was a glimmer of green. I started looking in earnest, talking with my friend Chenoa, who is an expert on dogs.

Last week, we went to an event in Powhatan that offered dogs who needed to be rescued. Chenoa met us there; she actually arrived first and sent me a text:

"I found your puppy!"

Chenoa had evaluated the available dogs and found a four-month old Anatolian Shepherd mix whose temperament seemed to suit our situation. She spent some time watching David interact with the dog, and then encouraged me to go for it.

I filled out the application and spent the week feeling more nervous about whether or not we'd be approved than I anticipated. After three phone conversations, real, honest-to-God reference checks and a home visit, it was done.

And this is the result.

Dog + Boy = LOVE
Here she is!

Louie LOOKS LIKE he's not impressed - but they are keeping a watchful eye on one another...


So, now we are Dog People. And Chenoa will come help us train her, and maybe I'll bring her to church like other people do, and maybe the empty spaces in David's heart will be full.

Either way, she's a keeper. 

We're not sure of her name; she came to us as one of a family of puppies who were all named after 'Friends' characters. I don't think we'll go with that; top pick thus far is to call her "Brittany", after the incredibly awesome lead singer of the Alabama Shakes. We'll see....



3 comments:

Brandee Shafer said...

I think this is great. I just became a dog mom, again, for the first time in almost 10 years. The Lord had to send the dog. I mean that very seriously. She is beloved of our family, also Christy's family (her backup family). It's perfect. I'm happy for David, and his dog's adorable; please tell him I said so.

Brandee Shafer said...

I think this is great. I just became a dog mom, again, for the first time in almost 10 years. The Lord had to send the dog. I mean that very seriously. She is beloved of our family, also Christy's family (her backup family). It's perfect. I'm happy for David, and his dog's adorable; please tell him I said so.

Darlene Churchill said...

I love dogs like cats sorry Tony. Miss my pit bull still but my lab that is now one makes me smile and laugh every day. Good Luck David. Hope potty training goes well. Always had success with that with all my dogs. One thought you might want to pick up your flip flops. If it's left in the middle of the floor it's fair game. Who knows Beth this might be a way to get a teen to clean up after himself. Win Win.

Seriously David I hope this little one brings you much joy!