As the temperature rises, the snow melts and everything outside gets muddy, I breathe a sigh of relief. The other day we were walking around our neighborhood, and we passed a woman walking her cute, little dog. Jay and I exchanged knowing glances over the children's oblivious heads and kept on walking.
Once upon a lifetime ago, we had two big dogs. Big Momma and Dr. Knowledge....And at the beginning of every spring, when the mud is ankle deep and the rain seems to never stop, the chore of wiping mud off of paws and tails and wet fur, and swiffering muddy footprints of the dog that slipped by the security check point was enough to cause serious heartburn.
Don't get me wrong, we loved our dogs! Let me bask for a few moments in good memories.....
For Big Momma...let's see
-She was ALWAYS very gentle with people.
-She would try to protect the little girl across the street by running to her and sitting on her feet.
-On one occasion, a woman was sharing her heart with us and was crying, very upset. So Big Momma came over to her, sat on the floor next to her, leaned against her legs, then put her paw on top of the woman's hand!
- Big Momma always "sang" along with the fire sirens...and Uncle Rick when he would howl at her.
-Her size was a good deterrent for Jehovah's witnesses.
-She wanted to be a lap dog.....she weighed 80 lbs.
For Dr. Knowledge.....
-He was very playful (much to Big Momma's chagrin)
-He taught himself how to turn on the water in the bathtub to get himself a drink. (Unfortunately, he never learned how to turn the water off. More than once we were woken up in the middle of the night wondering who was taking a bath.)
-Almost every time Dr. was sleeping he would "talk" in his sleep and chase some unseen phantom.
Here's few things that made them less than endearing....
-Big Momma peed in the house ALL THE TIME. And not in the middle of the room where it could be easily cleaned, but ALWAYS near a piece of hard to move furniture. Mainly, it was near the fridge....and yes, it went under the vinyl and soaked right in to the subfloor. Pleasant, huh?
-Dr. Knowledge would poop in the house out of spite.
-Big Momma would try to attack all animals, skateboards, plastic bags and breeze blown leaves within a 5 mile radius of our house.
-They would conspire against us. We had an electric fence installed, but we could only afford one collar. For awhile, the dogs didn't know who was wearing the "correct" collar, so both would stay in the yard. Then they wised up...they would feign innocence and trot outside....as soon as our backs were turned, an angry neighbor would be knocking on our door complaining about Big Momma using her dog as a chew toy. (I say that particular dog had it coming)
- Big Momma would steal food off of the kitchen counter.....think birthday cake, an entire box of unopened chocolate, bricks of cheese....
- The amount of shed fur was UNBELIEVABLE! I swear I would swiffer or vacuum twice a day and still find fur! Grrrr....
We could take all of this in stride until we brought Bella home from the hospital. Joe had just turned two and for many reasons Jay had to be out and about a lot. Between coaching volleyball and Young Life stuff, I was home alone with a big crew of non-bathroom users! I also feel like I may have had a bit of postpartum depression. I was exhausted beyond belief, I would cry easily and little things would put me through the roof. I can remember just getting everyone settled in for a nap, myself included, and my head hit the the pillow...the dogs started to bark. I actually thought that if I went downstairs and kicked them really hard, they would stop. Take note, I did NOT hurt the dogs! But the bottom line was that either Jay would have to be home to care for the dogs 24/7 or I would lose it big time. So after a lot of prayer and crying, we decided to surrender the dogs to a shelter. It was really heartbreaking. I felt extremely guilty and like a failure as a pet owner.
As it turns out Big Momma had a rare dog disease that was causing her to pee all the time and she had to go to the farm that you're not allowed to visit. Dr. was quickly adopted by another family! And, after a couple of weeks, when all the fur had been cleaned up and I had gotten a little more sleep (can I get an amen!) we were convinced that we had made the right decision.
So, while we remember the sweet memories of those dogs, I'm happy that the only footprints that I'll have to clean up are from the bipedal variety and they listen when I say "Sit!" (most of the time)