My grandmother once told me I didn't deserve to have a dog.
She was quite a charmer, that Gram.
But you know what I've come to realize?
It's not that I'm bad to my animals or anything. I'm not.
I'm the one person in the family who always makes sure there's water in the water bowl. I'm the one everyone comes to (animal or not) when they want to be fed. (They all know I'm a sucker for pleading eyes.) I'm the one who scrubs the puke stains from the carpet and trims the dog's nails before they curl under.
Yeah, that's me. The one who doesn't deserve a dog.
I guess what Gram meant is...I fall short in the loving and nurturing category.
(In that case, I not only don't deserve a dog...I don't deserve my kids. But that's a different story.)
To begin with, let's compare my grandmother's ways with mine:
Gram got rid of all the rugs in her house because...though absorbency is a great quality in toilet paper, it's not so great in carpeting.
I would have gotten rid of the dog.
She is also the lady who insisted her dog did not bite... even while it's teeth were wrapped around the pizza man's ankles.
I would have gotten rid of the dog.
After Gram died, my aunt kept the dog alive until it walked sideways like a crab and spun around in circles. I think she was afraid Gram would haunt her otherwise.
I would have gotten rid of the dog!
In fact, the thing that prompted my grandmother to make that declaration about me in the first place was...
you guessed it...
I got rid of a dog.
It all started when my girls were little and I thought my family needed a dog to make it complete.
I had always enjoyed having dogs growing up...so I figured my girls would, too.
I guess I enjoyed it because I was oblivious to the fact that dogs are dirty, needy, and expensive.
Anyway, we bought a pug from a disreputable source because we didn't have much money.
What we ended up with was an expensive, hyper, little biting machine that leaked.
Thankfully, my husband's cousin wanted a pug! And as it turned out, she sooo deserved to have a dog! (Even in my grandmother's strict opinion.)
Frannie, the pug, wound up with diabetes and had to be given shots of insulin every day. She also went blind. To top it all off, she leaked until the day she died.
But she was loved!
Stephanie, you deserve a medal!
After we got rid of Frannie, we prayed to God to send us the perfect little dog. And guess what? He did! Even though I didn't deserve it! I'll tell you the story sometime. It was truly awesome.
Sofi our Boston Terrier is now 12 years old.
She basically potty-trained herself, has never bitten anyone, and even used to let our daughters dress her in doll clothes and parade her around in a wagon.
She is the best!
But she is a pain.
I have to throw the ball for her ten-thousand times a day. She never quits and she never gets tired. She just begs...and begs...and begs for more.
She's a crack-head.
I start out very patient with her...after all, I know she needs the exercise and it's the only thing she has to live for besides her meals...
but I quickly lose it...especially when I am trying to accomplish another task in between each throw.
Like right now, for instance, I have to stop after each line because I can hear her nails scratching the slider ( a trick she learned from the much-more intelligent cat) to let me know she is ready for another throw.
Two weeks ago she went deaf which completely renewed my waning love for her. I felt so bad that I no longer saw her gray hair or dripping eyes or stained feet. She was my baby girl again. After all, I raised her! I'm the only momma she has ever known!
But here we are two weeks later, and she's still begging for the ball. She doesn't seem fazed by the fact that she's deaf, and she's still driving me up a wall. I'm starting to lose the warm fuzzies again.
In fact, forget about deafness...where's the arthritis?
So you see, Gram was right.
I don't deserve to have a dog.
And after Sofi dies, I'm going to try to remember that.
"The godly are concerned for the welfare of their animals." Proverbs 12:10a
Does that include throwing a ball?