Okay, they are not real dragons, but one look at my flowerbeds, and anyone would understand why I would call them so. This all began with me telling my husband, some four years ago, that we needed a farm dog. The kind that lives in a doghouse, keeps watch over the chickens, and barks loud enough to scare off the unwanted wildlife. He would be complete opposite to Daisy. She sleeps on the sofa, surrounded by pillows, moves only when food is at stake, and demands that the patio door opens the moment she decides that it’s nice enough weather to go outside. I truly didn’t care if he picked a German Shephard over a Border Collie, as long as our new addition kept the skunks away from the coop.
Several days later, with much enthusiasm, my dear husband announced that he found the dog he wants. I should have clued in. He flashed his cellphone in front of my face, and what do I see? A skinny, short-haired, floppy-ear canine. “This dog can’t live outside in the winter,” was my first reasonable response. “It’d freeze.” Never mind the fact that a good-size racoon would have him for lunch in no time.
“And don’t you think it’d be totally unfair for Daisy to sleep on the throw pillows, and our other dog freezing?”
My husband turned into a child counting down to Christmas. It took us several weeks, but our search ended successfully with a three-hour drive to meet a breeder—and our puppy. It was love at first sight—not on my part.
Thankfully the turbulent puppy days didn’t last forever. About a year later, Hunter started to calm down. A little. But as time progressed, he completely won me over. His gentle nature, unconditional love and unprecedented effort to be a good dog made me fall in love with him too. Daisy? Not so much.
When a call came a year-and-half later, followed by a text message that included a picture, I said no. “But she has no home,” was the argument. “Just look at her eyes. She is so beautiful.
As soon as we got into the breeder’s house, and Penny came to greet us, I knew it. We would not be leaving without her. Even Hunter liked her.
Daisy was angry. She pouted for six months. In her little doggy mind, we must have gone completely crazy. After we sent the pesky cat to live in the barn, we suddenly brought home a rambunctious puppy. He finally calmed down, and we dragged in another dog – a female – who seemed to think that she was the queen now.
Penny was a different sort of work. It took much love and patience, but she slowly started to trust us. The experience was so rewarding that two years after her arrival, and a discussion with our breeder, we decided to try for puppies.
Well puppies we got. The vet said six, at first, then eight by the last week of Penny’s pregnancy. We ended up with nine little doggies. The moment a new life comes into the world is always amazing. Multiply that by nine. The delivery took a better part of the day. Penny did great.
Our summer was spent blending dog food and goat milk, washing sheets, cleaning the floor and running after adventurous pups that think tall grass is the best place to play. Did I mention my flowerpots and perennials? Puppies whine, cry, bite, scratch, demand attention, smell funny, chew everything in their reach, and destroy every plant that stands in their way.
Let me just state for the record that I still think that puppies are cute, but also strongly believe that by week nine they all need to move out of my house and start living on their own – in their new homes.
But when our first New-Vizsla-Daddy came to visit his little boy and told us about his PTSD, and how he was planning to train his pup as an emotional support dog, all the mischief was instantly forgotten.
Watching an army veteran bond with a little puppy, bringing him toys and worrying about leaving his shirt behind so his new buddy could find comfort, brought tears to my eyes.
And then I thought of God. How many times do we come kicking and screaming, fighting and arguing, not fully understanding the reasons He is asking us to do something? Talk to someone we don’t like very much? Volunteer for a task that completely brings us out of our comfort zone? Yet, once we submit, and let Him be the God He is, we often look back and see the greater reason for His request, and perhaps even realize that sometimes it’s not just all about us.