They begged for a dog for two years, before I relented. Two years. We tried everything to avoid it. We said no, many times. But every birthday, every kid, it was the same request.
“Can we have a dog?”
We bought them toy dogs instead. Small plastic dogs, dog calendars. Even large toy dogs, soft and stuffed. Always toys, never the real deal. That didn't satisfy their longing hearts for a dog of their own. So we started dog-sitting for the neighbors. We dog-sat for a month for a missionary priest who was on a trip. And we loved his dog, Gina. Gina was a very elderly grey-whiskered grandmotherly labrador who heaved great sighs of woe when she needed to go out. She smelled a bit potent. She preferred to loaf around on her side in our living room during those weeks, while small children crawled all over her. The kids were delighted. They loved her gentle, quiet ways, and I got to see just how much that meant to the kids. When Gina went back home, their hearts felt broken. They needed a dog of their own. We still said no.
So they took a small plastic dog, and placed it on top of the china hutch, as high up to the ceiling, and therefore as close to heaven as they could imagine. They put a candle next to the dog, and began to pray that God would send them a dog. They asked me to light the candle. That made me instantly complicit and defenseless. I couldn’t tell them NOT to pray. I was caught.
“Come on, Doug. You had dogs. I had dogs. My dog had ten puppies! Kids need a dog.” I said.
“I know what’s going to happen!” was his response. “I’ll end up feeding it and walking it and cleaning up it’s messes. I don’t want to clean up after a dog!”
But the candle had already been lit.
Meet our Dog.
He stayed a sweet, fluffy, cuddling angel for about two weeks. Long enough for all the kids to fall head over heels in love with him, and change life forever. But that's another story.