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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Post #3: Spike, Part II

At the time, I was convinced that I was allergic to dogs, and any puppy we brought home had to be an “outside dog.”  The dog would live in our big back yard.  In anticipation of the big event, we brought a second-hand doghouse home and put in the back yard.  The boys and I had carefully put a fresh coat of paint on the doghouse and put a dog bed inside.

Once we brought her home, and learned her name, we carefully stuck reflective letters over the door to spell out her name:  S  P  I  K  E

These were the same types of letters you might see on someone’s mailbox.  I’m not sure if we expected Spike to learn how to read her name, or if we were worried that one of us would forget Spike’s name.
We had agreed to bring Spike back to the shelter when she was a couple of months older to have her neutered.  So when the time came, we loaded her back into the car, took her back, and let the shelter perform the operation.  Spike came home bandaged, drowsy, and sore.  During this time of recovery, our three year old son crawled into the dog house with Spike to care for her.  He spent most of two days in her doghouse, coming out for meals and to go to bed.  Spike recovered quickly. 

And Spike and John developed a really strong, unbreakable bond.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Post #2: Loss

Well, this one does not really have to do with dogs.  It has to do with loss.

I came across this letter I had written to myself in 2009.  Our son and his family had been down to visit us for Thanksgiving, and had their car burglarized.

I'll print this here for anyone who suffered a theft or burglary this past season of giving:

Dated November 27, 2009

We had a great visit this Thanksgiving from our son, his wife, and our two granddaughters.  As they prepared to leave, my son discovered that the family’s car had been burglarized sometime this morning after they had started packing their belongings into the car.

Gone were the iPod, the portable DVD player that kept the kids entertained in the car, and their entire collection of DVD movies. 
Gone were other possessions; My son's jacket; My 14 month old granddaughter's snacks; other things not to be discovered until the family got home.
My five year old granddaughter was heartbroken.  “I don’t like those kinds of people,” she pronounced.  If  you are ever deprived of the love of a five year old, then you are truly condemned.

Then she asked the hardest questions.  The ones that we adults don’t know the answers to: 
     “Why would anyone be that mean?  Didn’t anyone ever teach them it's wrong to steal?”
My granddaughter cried.  She cried like we adults have been taught not to cry. 
     She cried for the loss of her possessions. 
     She cried for the loss of her sister’s possessions. 
     She cried for the loss of her parents and her grand-parents possessions. 
     She cried for all of us.


And we wept for her loss of innocence.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Post #1: Spike: Our first Dog

We were a young family with boys ages three and six.  We thought it was time to bring a dog into our lives.

We thought we knew what we were doing, what we were getting into.  Of course, we didn't, really.

We lived in a three bedroom house with a large yard and no fence.  No one else in the neighborhood had yet bothered with fences, either.  The main thing was, we had a house, two young boys, and a large yard.  We were ready for a dog.  We decided we wanted a rescue dog.  This would be the least expensive way to get a dog.  Purebred dogs were supposed to be expensive, and we really did not know enough about different breeds to have a preference.

Kathy and I went to a shelter in a nearby city to find out what was involved in adopting a dog.  The explained the paperwork and the fees, and their requirements.  We filled out the paperwork, and went home, waiting for the call from the shelter to let us know whether we had been approved.  The call came.  We had been approved!  All that was left was to pick out a dog and pay the fees.

The boys let us know that the dog's name would be Spike.  We hadn't found the right dog, yet, but we had found the right name.  I had to work, so I left the selection to Kathy and The Boys.  They piled into the car and headed for the shelter.

Once at the shelter, they looked at the available dogs, and selected a three or four month old mixed breed puppy.  Spike had brown, white and black markings.  She had short hair.

Wait ... Spike?  a she?  Well, yes.  That is what you can end up with when you name your puppy before you pick her out.  And when you are three years old, gender doesn't really matter.

30 Years of Dog

My wife and I have been blessed to have had dogs in our lives for 30 years or more.

We have not always been the best caregivers.  We entered into our relationship with our first dogs naively, and blindly.  We knew we wanted a dog as a companion for our children, and as protection.  We didn't know all of the ins and outs of responsible dog - ownership.

Our dogs loved us, anyway.  Despite our flaws and failings, our dogs loved us, were patient with us, and taught us many lessons.

In this blog will be some of the teachings and adventures that our dogs have given us.