Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Every Day is Dog Day

Whenever Mother’s Day and Father’s roll around children ask, “Why isn’t there a Kid’s Day?” to which every mother and father who is asked that question replies, “Because every day is Kid’s Day!”

I thought about that when I found out that August 26 is National Dog Day, a day when we are to celebrate the companionship and loyalty given to us by our canine friends. But here’s the thing: at our house, as at the house of every dog owner and lover, every day is Dog Day. We have three dogs.

There is Jack, the ten-year-old nine-pounds-or-so black and white Papillon mix who was found wandering alongside a busy road in Augusta when he was a puppy. Debra brought him home and said it was up to me if we kept him to which I answered, “Right.” Jack is a house dog. Jack is a spoiled dog. Jack is a smart dog. Jack is the dog who sleeps with us. Jack has been a great companion for a long time.

Then there is Rainey, the three-year-old fifty-pound black and white Blue Heeler mix that we adopted from the Fitzgerald-Ben Hill County Humane Society. Being a heeler, she will nip at your heels to try to get you to go where she thinks you should go. Rainey loves people and wants to show it by jumping on them, by licking them, and, given the opportunity, by chewing gently on their arm. Rainey loves hard. Rainey lives in the back yard.

Joining Rainey in the back yard is Stevie, the two-year-old fifty-pound brown (and I mean brown—his coat is brown, his eyes are brown, and his nails are brown) Shepherd mix. When we set out to find a companion for Rainey we found Stevie at the All About Animals shelter in Macon where he had lived for the first year of his life. Because of his upbringing, Stevie can be a little skittish but when he warms up to you he is a very sweet dog. He is also a very smart dog—when it’s time to go into the pen for the night he won’t always come to me but he will always come to Debra. He runs like a deer.

All three of our dogs are rescues (as are all of the five cats divided between our home and our children’s homes). As I pondered that fact, I thought of the closing scene in my wife’s favorite movie, “Pretty Woman.” Earlier in the film, Vivian (Julia Roberts) tells Edward (Richard Gere) about how when she was a little girl and her mother would lock her in the attic for being bad she would pretend she was “a princess trapped in a tower by a wicked queen. And then suddenly this knight... on a white horse with these colors flying would come charging up and draw his sword. And I would wave. And he would climb up the tower and rescue me.” At the end of the movie, Edward, after overcoming his fear of heights enough to climb a fire escape to get to Vivian, asks her, “So what happened after he climbed up the tower and rescued her?” And Vivian replies, “She rescues him right back.”

That’s the way it is with rescue dogs and us.

When you stop and think about it, that’s the way it ought to be with us in our relationships as sisters and brothers in the human family and as sisters and brothers in Christ: you rescue me and I rescue you right back--and vice versa ...

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