Sunday, April 15, 2012

My dog doesn't know

I just came home from a few hours of visiting with some friends down the road. With every return home since mid-February the drill has been the same: Open the front door and find a very excited 10 lb ChiWeenie (Chihuahua/Dachshund designer doggie rescued from the Humane Society) bouncing up and down with outrageous enthusiasm to see me.

The first 6 weeks with Crazy Daisy Chiquita Nachladen von Springen Frijole (Daisy, for short) were near hell.  She's the sweetest little dog, but let's just say that she came with several unexpected i$$ue$...and some of 'em really stunk...literally!  There were truly days when I pretty much hated her.  I wasn't proud of my feelings, but I couldn't ignore them either.

Daisy was consistently cheerful, and that was plenty irritating when I was carting my king size comforter to the coin laundry for the 3rd time in a week.  There were some days when just the sound of her cleaning her paws annoyed the crap outta me. I often climbed into bed wondering about the mental illness that was surely responsible for the lapse in judgment, which had led me to think I wanted a dog.

After spending obscene amounts of time washing sofa cushions and bed linens, and after finding that the evil ChiWeenie had figured out how to make crating her worse than doing 10,000 loads of laundry per week, and after spending crazy amounts of money on vet bills and separation anxiety solutions, we stumbled upon a $20 solution...3 blue plastic tarps...the kind you see on every other roof after hurricane season in Florida. 

The past 2-3 weeks have been fairly peaceful...unless you count an expensive residential mailbox drama from the day we were driving Miss Daisy and a friend's assistance dog in the same car.  But...other than that...much of the Daisy dilemma has been resolved...except for my strange ambivalence toward this very dear little doggie. 

Walking in the door tonight, and fresh from watching the unexpectedly emotional film, We Bought A Zoo, I had a little revelation.  I'd driven home crying, praying aloud to God about some grief and love in the life of our family.  As I came up my walkway and prepared to turn the key to the front door, I braced myself for the the Mexican/German jumping bean that would surely be waiting to bounce through the door.

No surprises.  The ChiWeenie was in full, joyful spring as I stepped inside and bent down to leash her for the last walk of the night. My eyes were still burning from the mascara that had run in as my tears had run out during my car ride home; my heart was still swollen from this most recent run-in with grief.  But Daisy was just happy to see me.  And that's when I realized something...

My little dog doesn't know that I've been crying and grieving for nearly three years.  She has no idea that anyone is missing in my life.  She's...happy.  She's just happy to see me.  It was tempting to resent her for being so cheery and so blissfully ignorant. Why did she even care that I was home?  I didn't.  

But there she was, completely unaware of my tears and sadness, just so happy that the one she loves...the one who makes her feel safe...the one God seems to have charged with her care...was home.  She'd made it through another day without being rejected or abandoned. She's thrilled to celebrate our reunion every time I walk through the door, whether I've been gone for 8 minutes or 8 hours.

I can't say that everything was suddenly resolved in my mind and all my griefs went away, but I realized the foolishness of holding Dasiy accountable for my pain.  I realized that God wasn't giving me an out because of her bad behavior.  Clearly, His plan is for me to care for this anxiety ridden little dog despite my grief...despite my waves of ambivalence and grief. 

Ya know...I really wasn't expecting a lesson in carrying on, tonight, but I guess I got one anyway.  

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