Category Archives: pets

Lessons from a Dog

I have written before on this blog about my two canine children – Jack and Shirley. Jack is my 10-year old boxer/terrier mix. He is highly intelligent and very vocal – both traits from his boxer parent. Shirley is my 9-year old Dalmatian/hound mix. She is very energetic and a tad ditzy – both traits from her Dalmatian parent. However, her sense of smell is through the roof. She gets that from her hound parent.

Shirley loves to lay by the back door and watch things – she’s my watchdog. Jack is very protective and barks when the ice maker in the fridge makes noise because he thinks it’s someone at the front door – he’s my guard dog.

I’ve had both dogs since they were puppies, so we’re a pack now. When they sleep in the bed with me, we all have to snuggle up close and be touching. They know where I am 100% of the time I am home. They love to do things together – go on walks, chill on the couch, go ‘bye-bye’ in the car. I am a dog person and have had dogs most of my adult life. I’ve learned some valuable lessons from my canine children:

1. Love with all you have: My pups let me know I am their ‘hooman’. They wag their tails and bark with joy when they see me. They hold nothing back in showing me they love me. They bark with delight, make happy noises when I pet them, and freely snore when we hunker down for the night. We are delighted with one another’s company.

2. Don’t be afraid to show compassion and sympathy: Whenever I cry, Jack is right there to comfort me. He looks at me with a furrowed brow as if to say, “Are you okay? What can I do to make you feel better?” When I am sick, my pups snuggle up to me, keeping me warm and making me feel better.

3. Be boundless in your happiness: Jack does the full body wag and Shirley barks and wags her tail when they are happy. A head tilt and an excited, “Woof!” often accompany unbridled happiness. When my pups are happy, they show it to the extreme – from running like a crazy dog around the backyard to 100 mph tail wags!

4. Take pleasure in the small things: A warm blanket, a good snuggle, a tasty treat – all are small things that bring my pups great pleasure. One does not need a great deal of money to experience small pleasures. Some simple pleasures for me – beautiful clouds, a young buck in Cycle Dude’s yard, and Dove chocolate.

5. Forgive others and experience the joy of the moment: Sometimes my pups do things that are naughty. I tell them, “I am not happy with you!” They will still follow me around, not at all concerned that I am angry with them at that moment. One of them ends up doing something funny and I laugh, my anger melting away. I cannot be angry with my pups for long. Life is too short and they are too funny.

I know that divorce is painful. I would not have made it through that time if I did not have good friends and wonderful pups. In the middle of a bad night, when sleep would not come, I’d roll over to a cold nose and a warm pup. They helped to keep me on an even keel. God has blessed us with His creation – both for pleasure and for learning. I am grateful for my pups. Stay tuned . . .

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All Dogs Go To Heaven

I have written before about my two canine children. The three of us recently moved in with Cycle Dude. Shirley, my Dalmatian/hound mix, adores Cycle Dude. He can get her to do things I can’t by just looking at her (like go upstairs to take a bath). If Shirley had her druthers, she’d sleep in Cycle Dude’s bed every night. Shirley acts like a starry-eyed schoolgirl around Cycle Dude (ok, I do, too!!). He just smiles and pats her head. That’s all she needs.

We should all be so fortunate as to have the unconditional love of someone like Shirley. Granted, she’s a dog, but where else will you find such pure, unconditional love? You find that with the God of the universe! I am convinced that in so many parts of our daily lives, our Heavenly Father shows us His incredible love for us. Did you wake up this morning? Did you see the sun rise? Are flowers blooming in your yard? Do you hear the birds singing? Do you have the gracious friendship of a good person?

I see the amazing love of God in the crazy full-body wag of my dog, Jack. I see His boundless love in the beauty of each sunrise. I see His unconditional acceptance in the way Cycle Dude loves me. Take the time today to stop and listen to voice of God. I am reminded of His voice whenever I hear thunder because the Bible says the voice of God sounds like thunder.

I am grateful for the sweet love of my pups – the way Jack looks at me and the way Shirley loves to give me kisses. I am thankful that God gave me such wonderful animals to take care of. They remind me all the time of what unconditional love truly is – accepting and gracious. Thank you, Father, for such a sweet reminder of who You are! Stay tuned . . .

Sundown

One of my favorite Christian artists is Wayne Watson. His songs not only speak to the human condition in general, but also to the Christian condition – the attitudes of our hearts and souls before God. Since I am moving soon, I have been sorting, packing and throwing stuff away. In one of my sorting soirees, I discovered several CDs of Wayne’s music. I was listening to one on the way to work this morning. One of the songs was entitled, “There Goes Sundown”. The theme of the song is that only God knows the number of our days and when this world will finally end. As we live out our days, we need to live each one for the gift that it is and not waste our time waiting for the end.

There was a time in my marriage when I dreaded each day because I knew it was another day I’d have with my ex. What was I going to discover today – more money taken out of our account for adult web sites, more evidence of his nasty habits and addictions? I have to confess that I didn’t even look forward to the day because it was a day I’d get to spend with my children – I was so concentrated on my ex.

These days, I look forward to sunup and sundown. I look forward to sunup because it is a brand new day – a new chance to experience this life God has given me. Some days are better than others, but when I close my eyes at night, I am grateful for another chance to experience God and His great love for me. I look forward to sundown because I can look back on my day and see where God showed up and how He used me in the lives of others.

Sunup also brings sloppy doggy kisses from my pups. What better way to start the day than to know you are so special to someone- whether it be a spouse, a child, a pet or a friend.

Dear one, if you are dreading this day, this week, take heart. Here in Mytown, spring has come early. Flowers are blooming and the robins are nesting. If nothing else, look out your window and marvel at our God’s amazing creation. As the sun sets on another day, breathe a prayer of thanks – for the beautiful sunset, for the life He has given you. Stay tuned. . .

Dreaming Dogs

Sometimes, I tend to get a bit heavy in my blog subjects. Time for a little lightness! I was woken up at 11pm last night by my dogs barking and someone banging on my front door. I finally got up to see that someone had opened the door and was telling me to take the chain off the door. Wait! What??!! Was it the police? A burglar?

No, it was one of the maintenance men from the apartment complex. He rushed into my apartment and turned off the hot water from my hot water heater. From the time I had gone to bed to the time I awoke to someone pounding on my door, my hot water heater had burst and was spewing water onto my neighbors downstairs! Luckily, only the carpet in front if the hot water heater closet was drenched, not the carpet in either of the bedrooms (which are adjacent to the hot water heater closet). So much drama!

Once the maintenance man got things settled and told me he would be back in the morning to replace the hot water heater, and I found some towels to put down on the carpet to sop up some of the water, I finally got to bed. As I was drifting off, I heard another noise. Shirley, my 8-year old Dalmatian/Hound, was dreaming. She was growling and barking in her sleep. I tried hard not to laugh. After all the water heater drama, I needed a little comic relief.

I am grateful for my dogs because as hard as life gets sometimes, I know I can count on them for comic relief. They are my buddies, my warmers on a cold night, my companions, my food tasters, my protectors, my alarm clocks and so much more. My life would be so dull without my dreaming dogs! Stay tuned . . . .

Unconditional Love

I have written about my pups many times on this blog. They have been such a huge part of my divorce healing. If it wasn’t for my Jack and Shirley, I would not be here. They have kept me sane through the ugliness of the divorce.

Last night, Cycle Dude came over and we took Jack and Shirley to the bark park at my apartment complex. Shirley proceeded to dig and Jack rolled in the dirt. Of course, I got messy chasing after them. After Cycle Dude left, the three of us hit the bathroom. I gave Jack a bath, then Shirley and I took a shower. It’s much easier to wash a dog in the shower – IF they will stay in there with you. Shirley’s pretty good about it, but I have to be quick.

I love coming home to a full body wag from Jack. Sometimes, he’s not sure in which direction he should wiggle! Shirley is very good at entertaining herself. She can throw a tennis ball up in the air and catch it on the first bounce – what talent!

Both Jack and Shirley are rescue pups. They add such joy and unconditional love to my life. I’m sure I’ll write more about them soon. Stay tuned!

My Protector

Jack is my 8-year old boxer/terrier mix. Even though I never would have chosen a dog like him, he has become my best buddy. When I walk in the door from work, he greets me with a full body wag. When I cry, he looks at me with his furrowed brow as if to ask, “Are you okay?” He is quick to lick away my tears. When he lies on the bed next to me at night, he has to be right up against me. He is deathly afraid of fireworks and loves peanut butter.

When I got divorced, I told Jack, “You’re the man of the house now. You’re the protector.” He has taken that job quite seriously. He knows he is the alpha male and it is his duty to protect his “women” – me and his sister, Shirley (an earlier blog). When Cycle Dude comes over, Jack is glad to see him, but do not let Cycle Dude get near me! Jack barks until Cycle Dude is a couple of feet away!

I got Jack from a friend of a friend. He was originally with a family that had an autistic child. The family thought Jack would help the child to calm down. That did not work out and Jack was returned to his mom’s owner. I saw his photo and fell in love with him, so he became part of my family. I am glad he did.

Last night, Jack was whining at me. I thought he had to go out to do the doggie thing and I headed for the front door. He made a beeline to the kitchen where his food and water are. He stopped in front of his food bowl. This is how the conversation went:

Me: What’s wrong, Jack? Your bowl has food in it – it’s half full.

Jack: Half full is not whole full. Half full is empty.

Me: You’re fine!

Jack: (continues to stand in front of his bowl as I walk away) Ahem?

Me: What? (exasperated sigh)

Jack: Half full is empty!

Me: Fine!

Jack got his food bowl “whole full”. Yes, he has me well-trained! Give your dog a big hug! Stay tuned . . . ..

Companionship

When most people hear the word, “companionship”, they think of another human. I think of my dogs. They have been with me through the entire divorce process. My children have grown up, gotten married and moved away, but my dogs aren’t going anywhere. We depend on one another. Let me tell you about my companions.

Jack is a 7-year old brown boxer/terrier mix. We got him from a friend of a co-worker. He spent the first four months of his live in a family with an autistic child in the hope that he would calm the child down. That did not work. He was soon given back to his mom’s owner and “rehomed” to my family. I wasn’t too impressed with him and he’s not the kind of dog I would have chosen, but I felt sorry for him and he was cute. He soon became attached to my other dog, Jingle, a Newfoundland/golden retriever mix. Jingle died about a year after we got Jack. He did not like being an only dog.

Shirley is a 6-year old white and brown-spotted Dalmatian/hound mix. My daughter found her on the internet at an animal shelter in a neighboring county. I did not name Shirley. They named her at the shelter – her sister was named Laverne. Shirley wasn’t as smart as the other Dalamatian/hound mix we had. (Riley passed away after a car accident.) Still, she was cute and had the funniest expressions. She immediately bonded with Jack.

When I got divorced, I told Jack that he was the man of the house now and that it was his responsibility to watch out for me and Shirley. He has taken that responsibility quite seriously. Even though Jack knows Cycle Dude, he still barks at Cycle Dude when he hugs me. Jack is the Alpha male of our “pack”.  Jack shows concern when I cry, or drop something on the kitchen floor, or holler when I stub my toe. He knows he has to take care of me and his sister. Shirley is our comic relief. She has made me laugh so hard at times that I’ve cried. I’ve given them both exotic breed names. Jack is a “Castilian Smooth-Coated Terrier” and Shirley is a “Norwegian Spotted Hound”. (Those breeds don’t really exist – but it sounds good when people ask me what my dogs are.)

When I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, my pups snuggle a little closer. When I am crying in anger, frustration, or sadness, Jack is there with a worried look on his face and “feel better” kisses. When I’ve had a rough day at work, Shirley is there to make me laugh. I have a neighbor who has a dog and a cat. She lives alone except for them and they are her “family”.

I tell you about my dogs because they have been, and continue to be, a huge part of my divorce healing. Shirley has made me laugh when I thought I didn’t have it in me. Jack has shown compassion when I’m finally all cried out. My dogs have been a big part of my life.  If you have a pet, then you know they are part of your family. I love my little pack and wouldn’t trade them for anything!! Stay tuned . . .