For most of our 45+ years of married life, fur babies have always been important members of our household. Almost all of our dogs were devoted and loving, and were a source of much joy and laughter for our whole family.
However, after being "dog free" for the past 15 months or so, we finally succumbed to the temptation to bring another one into our home - thereby filling a fur-covered void in our life. The following is our account of that experience.
After the first two weeks...
Does anybody want a dog? The price is right - it's free for the taking. It's not just any dog either, but a fine, cute, trim looking, two-year old spayed female beagle with all shots up-to-date. She's ready to go - along with two kennels, a basket full of toys, and a 3/4 bag of dog food.
Actually, I'm just kidding about giving our dog away. I couldn't do that because, like it or not for better or worse, she's now part of the family.
It all began when "Betsy" joined us through adoption 16 days ago. It was love at first sight for both of us. She did her very best to please us, and she obeyed almost every command. Betsy was the most loving, snuggly, friendly, quiet, attentive dog we've ever had. She would lick our face off and clean our ears if we allowed her to do those things. Betsy likely would never be a fearless guard dog, but we didn't want one of them anyhow. We couldn't ask for anything more in a dog.
Well, ok...there were some minor issues involving her relentless harassment of the 47 stuffed critters we have sitting along the sides of our stair steps. Also, she didn't always respond to her new name unless there was a tasty treat waiting for her. Neither of those things were a big deal - yet. Oh, did I mention her frequent over-the-top energy levels?
However, we now know that everything Betsy did to be a "good dog" was all part of a well-orchestrated plan to have us eating out of her paws. Her goal all along was to win us over, and then, quickly seize control of our house and home. It didn't take long for her to begin the control phase - 16 days to be exact.
Today she turned on us. Betsy suddenly became a naughty, defiant, destructive, peeing, disobedient brat - a little hellion high on crack - a little demon on flaming wheels, simply bent on driving us crazy. She ignored our pleas to shape up - even with our threats to hog-tie her. We do need to remember, though, that all beagles have a nasty stubborn nature and have great difficulty doing things that aren't their idea.
Tomorrow will be day number 17. Betsy is about to discover a whole new meaning to the word "control". It's called attitude adjustment - hers.
Eight weeks later...
Betsy has been doing very well. Now after more than 10 weeks, she has us almost fully trained, but it's been a struggle for her. The biggest problem she needed to overcome was that Carol and I aren't young pups anymore, and we don't learn new tricks easily. However, in that short time, Betsy has managed to teach us how to fetch, beg, pick-up her toys, scratch her belly, and dispense treats on demand.
She still has trouble ignoring our herd of stuffed critters sitting on the sides of the stair steps. Betsy has a number of her own stuffed squeak toys in her toy basket, but she thinks ours need her attention too. We don't think she's especially happy with her name either, but other names such as Fido or Fifi just wouldn't fit a beagle personality.
Also, she's fascinated with the many squirrels, chipmunks, and birds out in the yard that constantly torture her. When she's outside with squirrels nearby, and if I call to her, she just looks at me as if to say, "No way, dad."
In spite of everything, Betsy is well on her way toward being a good friend. Our little doggy is finally learning to get along. One of these days she might even win our coveted "good dog" award, but we don't dare to tell her about that just yet.
During retirement, my prayer is that I might serve the Lord by sharing the Gospel through my writing. As the Lord leads, my work will inform, challenge and encourage. I also enjoy Biblical theme woodcarving, Bible studies and Christian music. Watch, pray and keep looking up!
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