March 9, 2013 by Dragonfly Diva
As I sat last night on the sofa with my husband watching a movie on TV, I had one of those wonderful moments with one of our dogs. Now I’ll admit that I might have missed this moment if it had not been for the fact that the movie my husband picked was in German, with subtitles. I don’t speak German – he does and was having a blast seeing if he could keep up with the conversations and plots – and I could not read half the subtitles as I didn’t have my glasses on. So I was mainly enjoying the almost musical cadence of the speaking in the movie and trying to understand the plot via watching the characters interacting on the screen. It was an interesting experience actually. But I’m getting off topic here. So…
Back to my dogs. A little history to help you understand Crosby and I’s “moment.” Seven years ago a man knocked on our door asking if we had lost a dog. My step-daughter who was living with us at the time let him know that we had not, but her Dad and I were thinking of getting one for her little brother so if the owner is not found maybe we will take him. Fast forward to that evening and yes you guessed it the dog was now at our house and our 6 year old was ecstatic. Two hours later the phone rings – the owners been found. Now at 10 PM I have a bawling 6 year old. Doggie went home the next day and I agreed to let our husband take our son to the local animal shelter to begin the search for a dog of our own. Now, I’d never had a dog as a child, so this would be a new undertaking for me. At the time we had a small home, with 3 children under 18 living with us, one of which was a new baby. So I emphasized to my husband as the left two things:
- No puppies! I did not have the time, energy or patience at the time to house train a puppy and clean up the inevitable messes.
- No big dogs! We just didn’t have the room to be fighting for space with a large dog.
I’ll give you three guesses as to what they came home with: Yep, a 6 month old German Shepherd/Golden Retriever mix. Sigh. At that time in my life I’d not yet found my voice and acquiesced immediately on the choice. It was my son’s dog – and he’d picked him out. Who did the dog pick as his own…me. Fast forward another two years and countless chewed shoes and leather coat collars and toys and you would find us at a local pet supply store looking for more chew toys to keep Crosby busy. I’m picking out a new collar and around the corner comes my husband with a dog on a leash and a grin on his face…”saying look at the new toy I found for Crosby!” In my mind, I’m thinking are you nuts, but I asked what the heck are you talking about? A local shelter had a number of dogs there for adoption that day. They were also willing to consider temporary fosters to get the dogs out of the shelter for a while. So, in the end they (meaning my husband and a well meaning shelter volunteer who was just doing her job) talked me into fostering for a week to see how it went, whether Crosby would take to a new brother, etc. Of course I’m looking at the dog my husband picked – a Black Lab/Boxer mix with a funky cropped tail, and the other dogs they had there, and thinking the little cute curly haired one was more my speed, but remember, I’ve not yet found my voice in matters like this, so home we go. Needless to say the two dogs got along fine, my son was thrilled and I did not have the heart or words to say no and send him back to the shelter the following week. Smiley joined our family. He’s my husband’s dog, right? He picked him out. Nope! Smiley picked me as his pack leader and is my constant shadow and protector. Here is a picture of our two mutts from 2007.
Today the two dogs jockey for my attention, and routinely wake me up early on weekends to go through our morning routine even when my husband has gotten up early than me. (I mean literally! They will not go to him sitting on the couch with his coffee, they will come into our bedroom where I am still cocooned in the covers and whine and pace and stand there staring up at me till I get up. Then they will prance around – yes big dogs do prance – excited because their favorite person is up now too!) They are my dogs. The will seek out my husband for food treats – because he is an evening snacker. And they will indulge our son with a bit of play or affection when he occasionally wants them too, but for the most part they are my dogs.
So back to last night, Crosby managed to trick Smiley into getting off the couch and he immediately got up next to me and settled in. Putting a paw on my leg and sighing like he’d finally gotten what he needed emotionally – a spot next to Mom. I put my arm around his neck and petted him and he does that thing that some dogs will do…he put his head down and leaned it into my side. We spent the next 10 minutes or so just communicating with one another, looking at each other, looking away, he’d do something and I’d do it back. That paw on my leg is his letting me and the world know that I belong to him, so I put my hand on his paw…he belongs to me, but also that I’m the alpha dog in the relationship. He sniff at me, and I leaned over and sniffed back at him. It was a total doggie conversation. And I’ve had the same thing with Smiley – although with him his neuroses mean that our conversations are different. His way of loving on me is to try to crawl into my skin with me. Leaning on me or trying to be a lap dog is his thing, that and protecting me…but he still shares love. Years ago I had three weeks where I was really sick and I still remember him crawling up next to me on the couch and napping side by side.
Their love is unconditional. We can mess up and they still love us – like last week when I was out of town and my husband put Crosby outside – and then forgot he’d done so and went off to work. Our son came home to him sitting on the back porch looking in through the sliding glass door like, “Is anyone ever going to let me in?” Thank goodness he was still there – as he did not have his fence collar on. Guess he knows where his bread is buttered! The greetings I get after being out of town are the best! Even if I’m only gone from the house for a few hours its like they thought I was gone for good.
I’ve found my voice, and the family knows that the next dog will be my pick – small and a girl! That said, I’d not trade my two big lugs for anything. Dogs rule. They add something to life’s journey that you can’t get anywhere else. They’ve taught me to look at life from a different perspective, one that is less cluttered and intricate than a human perspective. And, that is a really good lesson to learn, when your mind works like mine does.
Do you have a pet? If so, what have they added to your life? Have you had those pet/owner moments like I had last night?