I will be honest. I did not always LOVE dogs.
[Funny fact: Loving dogs was a prerequisite for anyone who wanted to date my husband…somehow he still agreed to our first date. And the rest as they say, is history.]
Not that I didn’t like dogs at all. I just preferred them keeping their distance. I did not want them in my face…I grew up with the notion that a dog must know its place, and that’s NOT on the couch! I also hated the sorrow I felt whenever I saw one suffer. Better to keep them all far away to protect my clothes from stray hairs and my heart from breaking.
[Much like human relationships for some people?…I don’t know.]
Thankfully, along the line I DID fall in love with dogs all over again. It was perhaps due to meeting just the right kind of dog (the Italian Greyhound, Kiwi, to whom my husband belonged) at the right time. One that steals your heart because she knew just when to cuddle alongside you when you’re in the most tense hour of your life and in need of some sign from God that all is going to be okay.
Yes, I believe He uses four legged friends in our lives. He has done so with me time and time again.
But back to the dogs and I.
So, I fell in love with dogs, wanting to save all of them, adopting another Italian Greyhound, Skooby, crying in exasperation when she was a puppy and chewed everything and refused to listen. I knew nothing about teaching her manners. I DO NOT like being out of control and with Skooby I seldom was.
Here’s where you can start seeing how He used dogs in my life: I só had to learn to let go of wanting to control everything in life. I had to realise days will not always go according to plan. And that it’s okay. I won’t combust.
Fast forward a few years and I’ve come to love our dogs – and most others – with all my heart. I would kill for them. I admit I often organise my life around them. I used to laugh at others who call their dogs their children, but now I know I’m in denial if I don’t fall somewhat into that group. We call ours our Oomans…not quite human, but close, right?
But I still have limits!!! I still want control!
We knew at some stage our old Kiwi – the one who originally softened my heart towards her species – would pass away, because she was at least 14 years old (it’s hard to know age of rescue animals you don’t adopt as puppies). We also knew we would have to get another pooch as a friend for Skooby.
My words about the new adoption: ‘I just don’t want a dog that sheds!‘.
That was basically my only – passionately expressed – condition.
Note: if you didn’t know, greyhounds are the most fabulous dogs with great characters and they don’t shed much. No hair on clothes, people! Awesome!
And so Kiwi’s last days came. We had to make the heart wrenching decision to let her go after a stroke that left her not quite herself anymore. We had no idea if she was suffering, so we decided her passing on is the most merciful for her.
It was tough. That dog was therapy for both my husband and I in various stages of our lives.
So, which Ooman next?
Now let me be clear, we had our list of specifications. We first wanted another greyhound, but they’re scarce and we wanted a rescue animal, not a puppy from a breeder.
So, what other type of dog will work?
We had size limitations, because our doggy-door is only that big.
And we wanted a playful one to help stimulate Skooby, our 3-year old hyper-active woof, while we work.
I wanted a softhearted dog – even though Kiwi can’t be replaced, I knew the value of having an intuitive dog that helps you through the tough days.
And then there’s the hair. That’s a no-brainer.
We entered the last kennel at Save-a-pet to have a look at her friend who was a small mixed-breed, (who didn’t really shed much). Bonnie showed her timidness and almost fear just for seeing new people in her space.
Hubby went to sit and play with the friend and this gave Bonnie a chance to relax. And when she relaxed, she played. And then she placed her beautiful brown face in my husband’s hands and looked into his eyes. This sounds so cliche…but it’s so true! Yup, dogs steal our hearts.
She was bigger than we wanted, but not TOO huge.
Did we have a winner?
I won’t bore you with the details. We did consider taking the other one. And we had to have a meet-and-greet with Skooby…bla bla bla.
But yes, a few hours later Bonnie came home with us.
Guess what…SHE SHEDS.
Am I still alive? Yes
Did I combust finding hair on the couch? No
Did I have to rearrange my life again, doing more grooming than I ever thought I would with a dog? Yes
Do I mind? Strangely, NO.
Life is more important than me wanting an effortless life.
Giving shelter to a lost soul – even a dog – has more purpose than making life easy for myself.
Finding a dog that is an answer to my very earnest prayers in all except for one area, is still a miracle.
She has the sweetest nature that steals anyone’s heart the moment you meet her. She settled in so quickly. (another answer to prayer after being traumatised by raising a puppy haha…yes, I’m a little dramatic, but there’s truth in that statement.)
And oh, how she and Skooby can play! It took a few days, but I think they call each other friends now.
And she’s OUR Ooman.
But here’s what I also realised: my immense need to be in control and make perfect decisions in life, needed some honing. My desire to have perfect situations that lead to the best outcomes in life, is a bit unrealistic. My fear of failing in situations if I’m not properly prepared, is now unfounded.
I thought I would be much more irritated and upset with a shedding dog. Remember, this is the girl who didn’t want anything to do with dogs for years, because of various practical and emotional reasons. I protected myself from all those possibilities.
I think God uses many ways to break down our walls and make us more ‘whole’ individuals; He shows us what we’re capable of, so we fear the future less.
Some may think me daft for making so much of simply getting another dog. But I had a few issues…and now, if I can live with – and LOVE – a dog that sheds, I feel more confident about facing other trials and tribulations…other situations I’ve comfortably avoided in life…
He did not give us a spirit of fear.
He’s slowly but surely showing me the truth of that; and as a bonus I got the best Ooman ever.
Thanks Hubby, for introducing me to dogs. You, God and Oomans make a great team in turning me into the human I’m supposed to be in this world.