Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Doggy World

We have three dogs in our house. Our furniture and clothes are covered in dog hair (although HOW the furniture is covered, I don't know because the dogs aren't allowed on the furniture. I think they wait until we're not home and then they wallow all over the couches. Just a thought.). We have three different food bowls on the floor that each dog shares with the other dog. Pommer, the youngest and definitely the one that is the most roly-poly, grazes out of ALL of the bowls all day long. When I'm home cleaning, cooking, doing whatever, I have three dogs that follow me in to each room that I go in to and they lay there until I get the job done or until I move in to another room. Cooking can be a definite chore when there are three dogs lying on the kitchen floor ... and getting up from the couch or easy chair always requires a quick glance at the floor to see if there's a dog underfoot. We are literally a house full of dogs and people.

We've always had a dog in the house, and we swore we'd never have more than one dog at a time. So, we had Snooker, a little rat terrior that lived with us for 17 years (until we had to put him down about a year ago). When he hit 14, we figured he'd only be around for a year or so, so we "allowed" our daughter to adopt a Pomeranian/Pug mix puppy that was named Pommer. We brought Pommer into our house and Snooker was NOT a happy camper. We thought Snooker would "train" Pommer and that Pommer would learn from him. Yeah, right. THAT didn't happen. The only thing Pommer learned from Snooker was to NOT come when you called him and how to gorge himself and become fat.

Then, our youngest son decided he needed a dog while he was at college and when he came home on weekends, he brought Stoney with him. Stoney is a beautiful German Shepherd/Blue Heeler that was rescued from the pound. The only problem with Stoney?! He is BIG ... and hyper ... and needy. He wants to be a 40-pound lap dog. He loves to drink out of the toilet and has gotten to the place where he'll stand at the bathtub and whine so we'll turn the water on for him to drink. Gotta have that "fresh", not doggy-bowl water, ya know!

Not long after that, our son also brought home Gracie, a Schnauzer mix, whose owner didn't want her anymore and he was going to take her out and shoot her. Our son was horrified by that, rescued her, and brought her here for us to "find an owner for her" -- uhm, that was about 3 years ago. We named her Gracie because she was "saved by grace" and instantly fell in love with her because of her gentle spirit. Gracie has become the mama dog of the bunch; she'll groom Pommer and chastise Stoney. It's a crazy house!

All three of the dogs like to sleep with my husband and me. Pommer was little enough that we didn't mind when he first got here. He'd sleep curled up next to my legs, and my husband never knew he was there (until Pommer started getting up at 4:30 in the morning to go outside and get a doggy treat! I would just ignore him or get after him, while Wes would actually get up and get that goofy dog what he wanted!). Since Pommer didn't disturb Wes's slumber, he was allowed to sleep with us. Gracie, who was an outside dog when we first got her, has never particularly been interested in sleeping in the bed (thank goodness!). She sleeps in a upholstered chair in our room or on the cool tile in the bathroom. But yes, she's in here with us. Then, there's Stoney ... the big dog ... the dog that is literally the size of a man (okay, a small man, but still a man!) when he stretches out. Stoney LOVES to be in the bed. Stoney wants to be in the bed, lying on the pillow, under the blankets next to me and he'd really prefer for Wes to sleep on the floor. Yes, Wes isn't particularly fond of that scenario. Wes usually (okay, always!) wins, and Stoney either tries to sleep pressed up to me somehow, or he'll sleep on the upholstered bench at the end of our bed (if Wes totally kicks him out).

The dogs also love to greet people at the door. Gracie has this high-pitched bark that is piercing. She'll bark and then run off and hide. She is scared of strangers ... well, actually, she's pretty much scared of everyone except for immediate family. Little, fat Pommer will bark and get so excited that he can barely breathe. He'll wheeze and jump around and then exhaust himself (we really need to get some weight off of that dog). Stoney has this deep, extremely scary bark. He'll turn in circles until he gets dizzy and frantically try to kiss anyone who comes in the door. People are usually traumatized before we can even get them out of the entry way in to the living room.

None of our dogs like to take a bath, although they ALL love to be brushed and will let you brush them forever. They don't like to share chew toys, so we don't get them anymore, but they do share their food. Pommer likes to punish people by pooping in their room (for years, we blamed it on poor old Snooker, thinking he had "lost it", but Pommer just pooped by the chair Snooker slept in. We finally caught him and broke him of the habit pretty quickly). Stoney has horrible, loud, stinky gas ... Gracie's tummy gurgles ... Pommer likes to nip at your toes when you walk by (fun game!). And every single one of those silly dogs are just sooooo grateful to be loved and in a home with people.

I know a lot of people don't like dogs. They think they're obnoxious and smelly ... and those people would be right! But, we can learn so much from our pets. Dogs love unconditionally. They accept their lot in life. They're loyal. They protect the weaker ones. And they need us -- their owners and masters. I had to think -- do I love unconditionally? Do I accept what I've been given without complaint? Am I loyal to those I serve? Do I protect and care for those who are weaker and need help? Do I act with God like my dogs act with me? Seriously! When it's time for God and I to meet, do I act like my entire day has been made just by being in His presence?

Yes, I still have lots to learn from these furry little friends of mine. They ARE just dogs, but for some reason, God has placed these dogs in our house for the time being. They're the "furrier" part of our family, and we can learn from them just as they (occasionally) learn from us.

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