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Ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog

My neighbor, an avid dog lover, asked if I would write about owning and enjoying a dog. My response was, “Me? You’ve got to be kidding. I’m not a dog person.” Everyone around me loves and owns dogs and I am knee deep in them, too; I don’t understand it.

I’d venture to say there are a lot of dog lovers in Pagosa. This subject could split the readers down the middle. I tread lightly. Al is the one that says, “Love me, Love my dog.”

I am very selective when it comes to dogs. I don’t like them to lick, slobber, bark or jump up on me and I don’t want them on my furniture. Isn’t that what dogs do? How can they help themselves? Once in a while, when I pass by, I might say something nice to one of them. But probably not! Dog lovers would gasp and say I am flawed. I probably am, but it’s not in me to talk baby talk or carry on a conversation with a dog.

I live with sweet Al, who has had a dog since the day we got married. When he goes out of town, he reminds me to feed his dog. “Of course, I’ll feed your dog; I do not want to see any of them hurt or go hungry. I am not that bad!”

Last November there were six little puppies born to our friend’s registered Labrador, three black and three chocolates. Our children spoke for one of the brown ones who has big yellow eyes and is lively and active. They call her Deizel.

Our daughter who now lives near us has always wanted a Labrador, so it was the perfect opportunity for her to have one. Al surprised her with a little black Labrador from the same litter. She is called Daizy.

They understood that the puppies might not be completely Labrador due to Super Dog, who was able to jump over tall fences. They would take their chances.

The two sisters, Deizel and Daizy, are growing up side by side. My daughter says about Daizy, “I pray every night that Daizy is a purebred Labrador.” The more the two pups grow, the more different they are becoming. Deizel, the little chocolate pup, has a Labrador head, pudgy nose, soft hair, a Lab’s tail and is a little on the chunky side.

On the other hand, Daizy, who has beautiful brown eyes that melt your heart, wants to sleep all day. She is precious and has stolen hearts. Al rocks her and holds her and her feet never touch the ground. She is treated like a baby, loved and enjoyed. She goes with Al or our daughter everywhere. She waits for a treat and is constantly under feet. She goes to Daddy Day Care and when our daughter comes home, Daizy excitedly runs to see her.

Lately I am seeing a difference; Daizy’s body is lean and long, her hair is course and wiry, her nose is pointed and she could fly with her very, very long ears. Maybe her ears are growing first, maybe that’s her problem.

The other day I discovered big droopy jowls on Daizy and I laughingly made mention to our daughter, “Daizy is looking more like a hound dog. You can quit praying, your prayers aren’t going to do her any good. She is a hound dog.”

Our daughter was very offended and upset. She told me, “Don’t call her a hound dog. She is beautiful. I love her just as she is. Don’t say that in front of Daisy.”

Al warned me, “No mother wants to hear that her baby is ugly and looks like a monkey; you better peddle easy on this one. Love is blind.”

Our daughter fired back at Al, “She doesn’t look like a monkey, and stop calling her ‘Long Ears,’ I measured her ears with Deizel’s and they are only two inches longer.”

I responded, “In dog ears, that’s long. Al, I thought you said peddle easy on this one. Probably the first lesson in love is learning to love those with flaws.”

Daisy has captured hearts. It really doesn’t matter how long her ears are or if her eyes droop, she is our daughter’s constant companion and brings her so much enjoyment.

When Al had a nervous breakdown twenty years ago, his dog literally helped him get well. “Lady” was at his side night and day. I actually painted a portrait of Lady. That was a sweet dog.

Now that I think about it more: The fact dogs blindly love us no matter what we look like; if we are rich or poor, successful or not, sick or well. Maybe their love is blind and that’s what we need to learn from dogs. They are loyal beyond the call of duty. I understand why my neighbor asked me to write about loving a dog.

When I tell the dogs, “get away, get away, get away, get down, get down,” they continue to lick me in the face and jump up on me. They insist on loving me, flawed and all. Isn’t that something?

Final Brushstroke: A dog brings balance to our lives. A dog doesn’t ask to share its life with us; we ask them to come into our lives. They are happy with a little pat on the head and a couple of feedings a day. We can all learn from a dog.

Artist’s quote

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, ‘I’ll try again tomorrow.’” Mary Anne Radmacher-Hershey.

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