There are a lot of days that I just sit and think. I used to try to walk and think at the same time but quit after walking into a tree and falling into a ditch. "Did God ever raise a puppy? Was the puppy house-broken or was he just turned loose in the Garden of Eden for Adam and Eve to teach him all the things puppies must learn? Who did most of the cleaning up, Adam or Eve?"
I use this clever seguidilla to share with you how Julie and I got a puppy for Father's and Mother's day last week. Our eldest son, John — who has promised us a cruise for our 50th anniversary — and his wife, Denise, are being transferred to Jacksonville, Fla., and will be living on the top floor of an apartment building overlooking the river. Housing a small dog on the 27th floor would have logistic problems even the Marines could not solve, let alone the fact that animals are not allowed. John, a master planner, asked if we could keep the dog until the move was completed. Alas, I should have guessed!
So, here we are, Julie and I, driving home from Albany (pronounced Albiny by those pesky Albinians), while Chloe sits in Julie's lap. This dog is slick. The whole time during the drive, this little curly, shiny, black-haired beauty sits quietly and nuzzles up to Julie staring with those dark intelligent eyes into Julie's liquid orbs.
When we got home and let Chloe — I think I will change her name to Down Girl — run amok through the backyard, sniffing the ground and chasing squirrels and birds, Julie said, "If John and Denise think they're getting this dog back, they've got another think coming!"
We get on the phone and tell our son and daughter-in-law the news while Down Girl sits quietly and listens intently. I could have sworn I heard Denise snickering in the background as John said, "Really? Aw shucks. Bye now." As soon as we hung up, Down Girl began to eat my sneakers, a good towel and was eyeballing the cat — whom I refuse to name because she only comes at the sound of a can of food being opened for her — until we hid the cat in the nearest closet. I will let the cat out when and if the puppy takes a nap.
I read Genesis once more and the part, "Let us make humans in our image (it's plural because the word for God here is the sacred plural word Elohim) … and let them have dominion over the fish, the birds, the cows, the bugs and the snakes." I read this over and over and see nothing about dominion over puppies. I knew it!
Be that as it may, Chloe is fast becoming a part of our family and will soon be riding with us in our car-truck — we don't have a truck per se — protecting us from prowlers, sitting quietly by our feet while we watch sports and keeping us warm during the bitter Statesboro winters.
For those contemplating having a dog for a companion, I give a few words: be patient, realistic, giving, accepting and thankful. The cost can be a tad on the high side at times, but the rewards cannot be bought.
I have some very good friends who know and are aware of the fact that animals were given by God as companions, helpers, charmers, protectors and family members. I know that when a pet is lost because of age, infirmity, accident or unexplained cause, it is as though our heart has lost a beat in time that can never be replaced. In fact, they tell me Heaven has to be filled with every pet imaginable and the reunion will be one happy place.
Just hang on. All will be fine.