the State of Texas passed the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act, which enforces
humane guidelines for restraining pet canines outdoors. Unfortunately
for me, the act fails to impose similar guidelines for the treatment
of grouchy husbands and embarrassing dads.
This news about dogs has had me thinking a lot about these magical
creatures whom we love so much that we're willing to stand outside
in nostril-chafing weather and praise-even applaud- them for soiling
our landscaping. When was the last time someone scratched behind
your ears and offered you a treat as you exited the restroom?
Actually, I'll bet our two doglets would praise me for my bathroom
habits if they could. (Maybe that's why they insist on joining me
in there to return the favor.)
I truly think that God must have had at least two purposes in blessing
humans with dogs. First, He wanted to give us a form of unwavering
companionship, the kind that doesn't mind (and even prefers) when
we don't smell so good.
Second, He wanted to demonstrate his imaginative power in creating
an animal that routinely displays so much of the potential for good
in people (unwavering loyalty, unconditional love, unending forgiveness,
unbridled joy, etc.) never mind the incessant yapping and
I have some wonderful memories of the dogs in my life.
The first dog that I could call my own was an apricot-colored toy
poodle named Fluff, gifted to me by my parents when I was a kindergartener
in the 1970's (No-I wasn't into using people names for my dogs,
though I did consider "Art Garfunkel.")
Fluff's claim to fame was that he was paper-trained, meaning that
instead of going outside to do his business, he used a variety of
local periodicals arrayed on my bedroom floor. This probably explains
why I was always caught up on current events, but I'm still afraid
to get out of bed in the dark.
My family soon adopted a second dog a beautiful springer
spaniel/golden retriever mix named Happy, whom I met when she was
still a puppy with her littermates. Ironically, my first meeting
with Happy included having her mother mistaken my left buttock for
a Texas Roadhouse dinner roll.
Because the bite broke the skin, there had to be an investigation,
which, thankfully, revealed that there was no risk of the mother
dog catching rabies since I was current on all of my vaccinations.
When I was in middle school, our canine menagerie grew again with
the addition of Sparky, a hyperactive Boston terrier who quickly
earned the nickname "Spaz." Due to a desperate need for more discipline,
Spaz and I attended formal obedience training one summer, but regardless
of how much we practiced and how many Oscar Mayer wieners were offered,
Spaz could never teach me to sit and stay properly.
After my marriage and the purchase of our first home, my wife and
I decided to make a trial run at having children by adopting two
pet pugs, Wilkie and Benny, both of whom lived a full 16 years.
Of course, we have since discovered that having human babies and
having dogs are extremely different experiences except for
the long-term expense, the slobbering, the chewing, the cleaning
up of someone else's "accidents" . . . . Wait a minute. How are
they different, again?
Seriously, though, dogs have been an important part of my life so
far, and I hope they always will be. Our current doglets are Bailey
a terrier mix who looks like the offspring of an Ewok and
that fuzz you find behind the refrigerator, and Biscuit a
Maltese mix who looks like the offspring of the same Ewok and Sam
Bailey and Biscuit bring our family a lot of happiness, and now
that our three teenage daughters are more independent, it's a comfort
to my wife and me that the pups are always excited to see us and
spend quality time with us especially when we go to the bathroom.