Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Messing with Natural Selection

I love our dog. Truly. But there are some aspects of dog ownership I could do without.

Yesterday was a decent day, even if the night before was unsettled for a couple of us at home. The bags under my eyes made that plain to all around me. But I did manage to get through most of my to do list, make a big dent in a work project, and hold my cousin's seven-week-old baby. Even managed to pick up the kids with time to spare and felt in a decent mood. I was looking forward to the pasta dish I planned to cook.

But then when we opened the door of the house, all that flew out the window as we were smacked in the nose with the scent of doggie diarrhea.


Yup, the dog was ill, and there was a nasty mess in her crate that needed cleaning RIGHT NOW. Apparently it had just happened because the mess was, uh, still warm. If I had just left work a few minutes earlier...

Thank goodness C is old enough to really help out because trying to clean up such a mess with a two-year-old underfoot would have been too much. Over the next several hours, we took her out frequently, but she still messed on the screen porch and we no longer have cushion for the wicker love seat.

This dog, Miss T, is a sweet dog. She's a retriever-collie mix and we adopted her from a rescue organization that saves dogs from kill shelters. She'd been in Kentucky before she was rescued and came up here.

Miss T is not the brightest bulb. She has the attention span of a gnat. There are times she clearly needs to relieve herself, but when we take her out she smells something in the wind and can't refocus to her original goal. I've taken her out 19 times on windy days before she's actually peed! She has a delicate stomach but loves to scavenge. We work hard at keeping everything off the floor and keeping her away from the garbage, but sometimes she manages something. I have no idea what it was this time. If she did not have a family of humans looking out for her - and willing to clean up after her - she would have exited the gene pool long ago.

But I will never get rid of this dog, unless she physically harms a member of the family. What she does and has done for C is what it's all about. When we moved up here from the South, C begged for a dog for a couple of years. I kept intending to do the research and find one, but something always came up. On that first awful day in the PICU, while C was coding in the next room, I bargained with God. I asked God to save him, he has so much life still to live, that I'd get him the dog he wanted, I'd take him to LegoLand.

So when it became likely in the following days that C would survive, I emailed an old boss who now runs a rescue organization and asked her to start keeping an eye out for a dog for us. Three months later, Miss T joined our family.

There are aspects of dog ownership that I don't like and bits of Miss T's personality that drive nuts. Messing with natural selection or not, she completes our family.

P.s. Yes, we did go to Legoland, too. It was awesome.

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