A few months ago, after years of refusing to do so we brought a Dog into our home.
Her name is Sailor.
We’re still not quite sure what kind of Dog Sailor is exactly.
She seems to have the mix of at least three, possibly four, different types of Dogs in her DNA.
When my Daughter and I met her for the first time she promptly pooped on the floor in the little glass room we were in and we were evacuated by the staff to another room.
There she refused to look at us and instead cried and looked longingly out the door for someone to come save her from us.
Maisie and I were convinced as soon as we met her that she was our Dog.
So, with the power of technology we did a Facetime home so that my wife and son could see the Dog and decide if they agreed with our assessment.
Owen immediately indicated that she looked like a good Dog.
We dutifully went about getting the paperwork done and brought Sailor home with us.
And, for the next several hours she refused to look at any of us.
Sailor was, and remains, a shy Dog. For the four of us in the house we live in she has mostly taken to us.
Her relationship with my son is complicated. He likes to pet her. Sometimes she likes to have him pet her. Other times she nips at him.
He doesn’t care much for that and will go lengths of time ignoring her. She, too, will ignore him.
That is until there is a treat to be had. Then she loves him.
Until the treat is gone. Then she ignores him.
Until she wants to play. She loves to have him chase her. He loves to chase her.
But, when the chasing is done the relationship turns back to complicated.
Maisie, of course, adores Sailor. Sailor, in turns, worships the ground that Maisie walks upon.
There are few long walks that can be taken outside unless Maisie accompanies Sailor. If she is absent on walks Sailor will go a couple blocks, realize his friend is missing, and will stop her in her tracks until you go back home.
Maisie has wanted a Dog since before she was born. Owen was ambivalent.
My wife was opposed for reasons related to allergies. And, I didn’t feel all that compelled to press the case one way or another.
It was through a combination of factors that we ultimately decided to bring a Dog into our home.
We felt that both of our kids would benefit from having a Dog in their lives.
Despite Owen’s complicated relationship with Sailor there has been a genuine sense of interest in the Dog. He is alternately amused and annoyed by her. He laughs at her. When there are the moments of tenderness you can see serenity in his face.
He also gets mad at Sailor when she nips at him. It annoys him. I think it also makes him sad.
But he doesn’t completely walk away. He keeps trying. A little bit. Not a lot. After all, he is a sixteen year old boy.
Sailor is a stubborn Dog.
Owen is a stubborn boy.
There’s a learning opportunity in that relationship.
Dogs do something to and for people that I don’t know we really understand until they are in the middle of one’s life.
Yes, I know people who love cats think they do the same thing as Dogs do in people’s life.
They don’t. Get over it. It’s a cat. Cats aren’t Dogs.
My wife talks to the Dog. She pets the Dog. She laughs at the Dog.
This is the same lady who assured us that she would be sneezing so badly that she would need to live in another house.
As for me, the Dog changes me. I can tell the minute I find myself in a bad mood and Sailor flips herself on her back for a belly rub.
Ten seconds into it I find myself talking to the Dog and ten seconds later I forgot the mood I was in.
Maisie lights up when she walks into Sailor’s room. Sailor melts when Maisie walks into hers.
We live in a place and time when all of us need a Dog. Maybe not an actual Dog. But, the feeling and the emotion that comes with having a Dog.
I find no real motivation or comfort or joy in the internet of things pounding me with “Memes” containing inspirational quotes about how to wake up in the morning or what people to get in or out of my life or that something wrapped around my belly will give me a skinny waist.
Words are important. They do matter. But, they don’t let you hug them. They don’t hug back. They don’t make you concerned about their feelings. They don’t concern themselves with your feelings.
They don’t feel. They don’t experience hurt, pain, frustration, joy or require patience and understanding and tolerance.
People do. So do Dogs.
Dogs poop on the floor.
I suppose people can, too.
Somehow if a Dog does it we find it in ourselves to excuse it as an accident and we forgive them.
Where if a person did it we assume it was done because of ill will.
Maybe that’s what else Dogs can do for us.
Teach us that sometimes people make accidents and we find it in ourselves to forgive them.
Another teachable moment brought to you by a Dog named Sailor.