Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Five: Pets

Sophia at RevGalBlogPals writes:

My son's tiny beloved lizard, Elf, is looking and acting strange this week. His skin/scales are quite dark, and he is lethargic. We are adding vitamin drops to his lettuce and spinach and hoping and praying that he is just getting ready to shed his skin--but it's too soon to tell. Others in the ring have also been worried about beloved pets this week. And, in the saddest news of all, Songbird has had to bid farewell to her precious Molly, the amazing dog who is well known to readers of her blog as a constant sacrament of God's unconditional love.

So in memory of Molly, and in honor of all the beloved animal companions who bless our lives: tell us about the five most memorable pets you have known.

Well, I haven't had five pets in my lifetime, but a few weeks ago, I started to tell the story of Jake the Dog and got side tracked. This seems like a good place to do that.

It starts in my childhood when a couple of scary events involving being knocked down by hunting puppies who were as big as I was and a dog running through the slats in my playpen left me terrified of dogs. I don't just mean scared, I mean climbing on the furniture or nearest car terrified. Our family had a couple of small outside dogs but it was understood that I didn't want to have anything to do with their care. I didn't run from them like I did with other dogs, but I certainly wasn't going to pet them.

Now fast forward thirty plus years when manBoy comes into our lives. His first word was "dog." I kid you not. His sitter had a dog in her back yard. When I would release him from his carseat, he would crawl or walk to the backdoor, look out and ask "dog?" Okay it sounded like "gog," but it was his first real word. Go figure.

As manBoy grew older, the pleas for a dog grew more frequent and backed with increasingly complex arguments for his case. At first we put him off saying we didn't have a fence around the yard. Then one summer, Gifted and Talented finished the fence. Now we were out of excuses. manBoy was 9 going on 10, and I began to feel I could perhaps tolerate an outside dog in the name of love for my son. I knew it would take more than my own strength to do this.

So, one Saturday morning in November, I went to the local SPCA website just to look. Just to see what might be there... and of course on the front page was a picture of a beautiful blond dog. His name was Jake and he was the dog of the week - on special! manBoy came in while I was looking and fell in love. I told him I wasn't sure if we could do this right now. I told him Jake was probably already gone since he had been dog of the week. I told him not to get his hopes up. Yeah. Right.

All day long, manBoy and I thought about Jake. Finally just before closing time, I called the SPCA. Yes, Jake was still there. So, the next afternoon we went down into the big city to the SPCA shelter. All the way down, manBoy kept saying, "You are the greatest parents ever!" And I kept saying, "We are just going to look. We are not getting a dog today." We walked in and manBoy presented the picture we had printed saying, "We want to see Jake, and my mom is scared of dogs." Needless to say, Jake went home with us that day.

Just like when manBoy came home with us, we had not one dog anything at our house. So we stopped at big box store. manBoy and G&T went in to shop leaving me with Jake in the van together! Lots of prayers and deep breathing, and we did okay. The guys came back with one of everything from the dog aisle!

Fast forward one week. We come home from church to find Jake awake but not getting up from his favorite place in the sun. He hadn't eaten. One of the toys we had purchased had disappeared and the doggy bed had been chewed to shreds. So, off we went to the emergency vet. In the next few hours exploratory surgery revealed that Jake had not swallowed anything undigestable. He did however have guy type problems that had been overlooked at the shelter. He also had a malformed kidney that was not functioning, and bad hips. So now, instead of an outside dog, we had a post-surgery dog that required wound care, and medications by mouth. Not.what.I.had.signed.up.for.

With the help of our vet and friends who were more dog lovers than me, we made it through. Through it all, Jake and I became fast friends. I still don't get my hands too close to his mouth and I'm not fond of licking. But, I brush him and he loves that. He listens to me better than to the males in the house. By our best estimate, Jake is 7 years old this month. His kidney function has never been an issue. He only shows signs of hip problems if he's been inside where he can't run for extended periods of time. He prefers to be outside unless it is thundering or below 25 degrees.

I was reminded of this story when Gifted and Talented was building him a new dog house. The one he built six years ago was falling apart. They both have wind breaks built into them, but the new one is insulated too. He puts cedar mulch in the bottom of it since Jake likes to lay in the mulch in the flower beds. Not that G&T likes this dog or anything.

All in all we are glad Jake came into our family. I'll post pics when I get home this evening. I don't have them on this computer.


Sophia said...

Wonderful story!

DogBlogger said...

And he is a really cute and sweet boy. He truly is the right dog for your family.

Auntie Knickers said...

It's interesting how love casts out fear, isn't it?