Allow me to begin with a confession. I am not the biggest fan of dogs!
I understand this shines a bad light on me, but it sets the stage for a story about our two-month dog-sitting experience.
For those unfamiliar with having a new dog in the house, they’re pretty much the same thing as a toddler. Turn your head for a minute, and they disappear, usually getting themselves into trouble.
The first night with our new pet didn’t go well!
We locked him downstairs in our “Jack and Jill” bathroom due to his bad habit of not warning us when nature called. He whined for a while when I shut the door, but no worries, I’m a sound sleeper.
Early the next morning, I was awoken from a deep sleep by the dog licking my face. Some people enjoy that. Me, not so much.
Coming to my senses, I remembered I had locked the dog in the downstairs bathroom. How did he escape? I got up to investigate. The first clue to solving the mystery came when I discovered the shredded wood at the base of the stairway. The dog had clawed his way through a solid core wood door.
Now, he needed to go to the bathroom.
It was ten-below-zero outside and not quite light when I pulled on a coat and snow boots to take him out.
I don’t get dogs. Even when they really have to go, they take their sweet time about it! Did I mention it was dark and freezing cold outside? I was barely awake and stewing over the ruined bathroom door. Meanwhile, said dog insisted on sniffing every mailbox in the neighborhood, searching for the perfect spot to answer nature’s call.
It was going to be a long two-months!
Later that day MJ and I needed to run some errands. We put the dog in the garage (with a space heater), so he wouldn’t ruin another bathroom door. When we returned, we were reminded that our attached garage also has a door. You know the rest of the story!
The dog and I were not off to a good start.
In the days that followed, it became clear that our routine was set. Each morning the dog (no longer locked up) licked me awake in the pre-dawn hours to go out for a frigid stroll around the neighborhood.
As my disdain for this creature grew, a crazy thing happened. In defiance of all logic, the dog became attached to me. In fact, he wouldn’t leave my side. When reading or listening to music, the dog was always at my feet. Whenever I left the room, he followed.
What I discovered was that dogs love you, even if you don’t love them. Perhaps The Almighty sent him to me as a message?
By the end of our engagement, I lost fifteen pounds walking the dog and actually began to look forward to our pre-dawn excursions. When Bryan finally retrieved him, I was almost sorry to see him go.
In the silence of the dog’s absence, I sunk down into my favorite reading chair and opened a book of Rumi’s Poetry…, to this verse:
“Oh heart, stay with the pain that is a remedy.”
Follow me at http://tim-coats.com