Becoming whole through family life. Desserts help.
I didn’t grow up with a dog as a pet, perfectly content with my cat named Tiger. The closest I got to a pet dog was when I was replaced by a Japanese Akita named Michiko. Apparently when I went away to college I left such a hole in the family, they brought home this beautiful dog to fill it. Sure, we both had blue eyes but Mitchy was decidedly more regal than the college co-ed she replaced.
My youngest boy showed a love for animals early. The pinnacle of his pet love happened at five years old while attending his brother’s club baseball tournament. Mingling with other families, a teammate’s dad brought a puppy he found roaming lost. My son was in love, playing and playing with that dog. The next day he hacked a leash out of rope and put it on his stuffed animal dog to bring to the games. When one of our team dads saw the stuffed animal dragging along behind my son, he quipped, “Just get him a real dog already!” And so we did. The dog’s name was Seb, but unfortunately this rescue dog was very damaged. After months of dog training, Seb bared his teeth at my husband and son and was returned to his rescue group. Not fun.
Or funny. Which got our family thinking about what we wanted in a dog and about how our family could make a dog happy. To be a part of our family a dog needed to want to be a part of a family and he needed to contribute something special. As soon as we laid eyes on Freedom, we knew he was ours.
Freedom is like us. He is a mutt, an Australian Shepherd and Golden Retriever mix. He suffered greatly, found in South Phoenix, Arizona, with a severe blow to the head that damaged his left eye from which he still tremors. He battled back; left for dead he underwent many procedures to be restored to health. Angels found him; when he needed them most, good people were there to help. He is good-looking and not too refined, just like us.
His foster family named him Freedom. We gave him a middle name, Riley, to match his gorgeous red hair and our Irish heritage.
What is the something special he contributes to our family? He makes us smile and laugh! He rolls on his back begging for a belly rub. When he lays on his belly his back legs flatten, looking like a frog. He alerts us to and protects us from our other pet, a cat named Leon, who is obviously a sinister soul-snatcher. He gently grabs with his teeth the wrist of loved ones, retrieving us, making sure we are safe. He skids and wipes out on our tile floor because running is more fun than walking. He naps, chasing rabbits in his puppy dreams. He wrestles with the boys, because he is one of them.
He is one of us. Happily.
Gray Stripe Earned: A special dog who can make people happy is worth his weight in chew toys.